Campus of Rice University

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The campus of Rice University includes a number of buildings, designed primarily in the Byzantine architectural style. The university was founded in 1912 on a 285-acre plot of land located very close to what is now West University Place, adjacent to the Texas Medical Center, in the museum district of the city of Houston, Texas.

The university's first president, Edgar Odell Lovett, stressed the importance of a uniform architectural style for the many buildings the campus would come to have. The majority of Rice's buildings have brick-colored facades, emphasizing courtyards, archways, and pillars. There are notable exceptions representing both modern and historical architectural styles, including brutalism and Mediterranean.

A number of the university's buildings are arranged around quadrangles, while others are grouped together with buildings of similar academic purpose.

The campus[edit]

Herzstein Hall, in the Academic Quad
A view along the inner loop, with three of Rice's many golf carts in view

Rice's campus is a heavily-wooded 285-acre (1.15 km2) tract of land located close to the city of West University Place, in the museum district of Houston.

Five streets demarcate the campus: Greenbriar Street, Rice Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard, Main Street, and University Boulevard. For most of its history, all of Rice's buildings have been contained within this "outer loop". In recent years, new facilities have been built close to campus, but the bulk of administrative, academic, and residential buildings are still located within the original pentagonal plot of land. The new Collaborative Research Center, all graduate student housing, and the Wiess President's House are located off-campus.

Rice prides itself on the amount of green space available on campus; there are only about 50 buildings spread between the main entrance at its easternmost corner, and the parking lots and Rice Stadium at the West end. The Lynn R. Lowrey Arboretum, consisting of more than 4000 trees and shrubs (giving birth to the legend that Rice has a tree for every student), is spread throughout the campus.

The university's first president, Edgar Odell Lovett, intended for the campus to have a uniform architecture style to improve its aesthetic appeal. To that end, nearly every building on campus is noticeably Byzantine in style, with sand and pink-colored bricks, large archways and columns being a common theme among many campus buildings. Noteworthy exceptions include the glass-walled Brochstein Pavilion, Lovett College with its Brutalist-style concrete gratings, and the eclectic-Mediterranean Duncan Hall.

The campus is organized in a number of quadrangles. The Academic Quad, anchored by a statue of founder William Marsh Rice, includes Ralph Adams Cram's masterpiece, the asymmetrical Lovett Hall, the original administrative building; Fondren Library; Herzstein Hall, the physics building and home to the largest amphitheater on campus; Sewall Hall for the social sciences and arts; Rayzor Hall for the languages; and Anderson Hall of the Architecture department. The Humanities Building, winner of several architectural awards, is immediately adjacent to the main quad. Further west lies a quad surrounded by McNair Hall of the Jones Business School, the Baker Institute, and Alice Pratt Brown Hall of the Shepherd School of Music. These two quads are surrounded by the university's main access road, a one-way loop referred to as the "inner loop". In the Engineering Quad, a trinity of sculptures by Michael Heizer, collectively entitled 45 Degrees, 90 Degrees, 180 Degrees, are flanked by Abercrombie Laboratory, the Cox Building, and the Mechanical Laboratory, housing the Electrical, Earth Science/Civil, and Mechanical Engineering departments, respectively. Duncan Hall is the latest addition to this quad, providing new offices for the Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Statistics departments.

A stone bench in the academic quad, with Lovett Hall visible in the background

Roughly three-quarters of Rice's undergraduate population lives on campus. Housing is divided among eleven residential colleges, which form an integral part of student life at the University. The colleges are named for university historical figures and benefactors, and while there is wide variation in their appearance, facilities, and dates of founding, are an important source of identity for Rice students, functioning as dining halls, residence halls, sports teams, among other roles. Rice does not have or endorse a greek system, with the residential college system taking its place. Five colleges, McMurtry, Duncan, Martel, Jones, and Brown are located on the north side of campus, across from the "South Colleges", Baker, Will Rice, Lovett, Hanszen, Sid Richardson, and Wiess, on the other side of the Academic Quadrangle. Of the eleven colleges, Baker is the oldest, originally built in 1912, and the twin Duncan and McMurtry colleges are the newest, opening for the first time during the 2009-10 school year. Will Rice, Baker, and Lovett colleges were to begin undergoing renovation at the end of 2009 to expand their dining facilities as well as the number of rooms available for students.

An overhead view of Rice Stadium, where the Owls play their home football games

The on-campus football facility, Rice Stadium, opened in 1950 with a capacity of 70,000 seats. After improvements in 2006, the stadium is currently configured to seat 47,000 for football but can readily be reconfigured to its original capacity of 70,000, more than the total number of Rice alumni, living and deceased.[1]. The stadium was the site of Super Bowl VIII and a speech by John F. Kennedy on September 12, 1962 in which he challenged the nation to send a man to the moon by the end of the decade. The speech, "Why the Moon" is available on the Rice Webcast Archive. The recently renovated Tudor Fieldhouse, formerly known as Autry Court, is home to the basketball and volleyball teams. Other stadia include the Rice Track/Soccer Stadium and the Jake Hess Tennis Stadium. A new Rec Center is being built on campus, which will house the intramural sports offices and provide an outdoor pool, training and exercise facilities for all Rice students, while athletics training will solely be held at Tudor Fieldhouse and the Rice Football Stadium.

The university and Houston Independent School District jointly established The Rice School, a kindergarten through 8th grade public magnet school in Houston. [2] The school opened in August 1994. Through Cy-Fair ISD Rice University offers a credit course based summer school for grades 8 through 12. They also have skills based classes during the summer in the Rice Summer School.

The quads[edit]

The campus is organized into a number of quadrangles, commonly referred to as "quads". Most of the residential colleges are also organized around their own quad.

The main entrance to the university leads to Lovett Hall, which stands at the front of the academic quad. Formerly known as the Administration Building, Lovett Hall was the first building constructed on campus. It features a sally port in its construction; Rice students pass through the sally port into the academic quad during matriculation, and superstition holds that a student will not graduate if they pass through it again before receiving their degrees. Today, Lovett Hall contains the Office of Admission and the Office of International Students and Scholars, the administration having moved to the Allen Center.

Adjacent to Lovett Hall, on the northern edge of the quad, is Herzstein Hall, which houses the largest classroom on campus, the Amphitheater. This room is preserved as a time capsule, and still features chalkboards and older-style desks. Herzstein is currently the home of the Rice Political Science department.

The Rice Memorial Center, the university's student center, is located on the north side of the central quad. Herring Hall, which once housed the Jones School of Management but is today home of several general classrooms and the English department, is on the southern side. The eastern side of Fondren Library once faced onto the quad, but has been replaced by the new Brochstein Pavilion, a central space opened in 2008.

With no official name, another quad is distinguished by the fountain located in its center. Baker Hall of the Baker Institute for Public Policy, and McNair Hall of the Jones School of Management are on its northern and southern sides. Further west lies Alice Pratt Brown Hall of the Shepherd School of Music.

The engineering quad is circled by the Cox Mechanical Engineering Building, the Mechanical Laboratory of the Earth Science and Civil Engineering departments, Abercrombie lab of the Electrical Engineering department, and Duncan Hall, housing Statistics and Computer Science. At its center lies the sculpture 45, 90, 180.

Academic buildings[edit]

Science buildings, Hamman, Hermann Brown, Mudd, Brockman Physics Building, Dell Butcher Hall, Oshman Design Kitchen, Observatory, The Cox Mechanical Engineering Building, the Mechanical Laboratory of the Earth Science and Civil Engineering departments, Abercrombie lab of the Electrical Engineering department, and Duncan Hall, Herring Hall, Rayzor hall, Sewall hall, Anderson Architecture hall, Humanities building, Rice Media Center

The Spanish Ministry of Education's Houston Resource Center (Consejería de Educación Centro de Recursos de Houston) is located in 321 Rayzor Hall.[1]

Administrative buildings[edit]

Lovett Hall, Allen Center, O'Connor house, police station, Cohen House

Residential buildings[edit]

Around three quarters of Rice's undergraduate student population is housed in on-campus dormitories, known as residential colleges. They are arranged in two groups, one on the north side of campus, and one on the south side.

The North Colleges[edit]

The North Colleges originally housed the female student population before the residential colleges became co-ed. The residential group is located east of Duncan Hall and north of Founder's Court. The first North College was Mary Gibbs Jones Colleges, followed by Margaret Root Brown College. In 2001, Martel was dedicated as the third north residential college. In 2009, McMurtry and Duncan Colleges were opened to facilitate an envisioned increase in student enrollment as stated in the Vision for the Second Century.

McMurtry, Duncan, Martel, Jones, Brown

The South Colleges[edit]

Baker, Lovett, Will Rice, Hanszen, Sid Rich, Wiess

Graduate apartments[edit]

Rice Village Apartments
Rice Graduate Apartments
Morningside Square Apartments

Rice provides off-campus housing for graduate students at three apartment complexes. Rice Graduate Apartments is open to non-married graduate students. Morningside Square Apartments and Rice Village Apartments are open to all graduate students. Families and couples may rent apartments at Rice Village Apartments.[2] Morningside Square has rooms larger than the other complexes, and is also designed for families.[3] The groundbreaking of Rice Village Apartments was held on February 1, 2008. The units are three blocks from the Rice University campus and one block from Rice Village.[4] Morningside Square has 54 units. The university purchased Morningside Square from Geoprime Properties in 2001.[5]

Rice Village and Morningside Square are within the Houston Independent School District.[6] Residents are zoned to Roberts Elementary School,[7] Pershing Middle School (with Pin Oak Middle School as an option),[8][9] and Lamar High School.[10]

Athletics buildings[edit]

Rice maintains a number of stadiums, fields, and athletic facilities for its sports teams and students. A new recreation center, located north of McNair Hall is slated to be completed before the end of 2009. Formerly known as Autry Court, Tudor Fieldhouse is Rice's basketball arena. Rice Stadium is a football stadium located on the western end of campus. It has been the home of the Rice University football team since its completion in 1950. The Rice Track/Soccer Stadium on the south side of campus. Reckling Park is Rice's baseball stadium.

Off-campus buildings[edit]

Data Center, IBC, BRC, Library Service Center, Wiess President's house, offices at Memorial Hermann tower

Other buildings[edit]

RMC and Ley student center, Brochstein pavilion, north and south serveries, South power plant, F&E buildings


  1. ^ "Ubicación." Consejería de Educación Centro de Recursos de Houston. Retrieved on2 9 September 2015. "Rice University 321 Rayzor Hall 6100 Main Street Houston, TX 77005"
  2. ^ "Application for Graduate Housing Rice University." Rice University. Retrieved on October 2, 2011.
  3. ^ "Morningside Square Apartments." Rice University. Retrieved on October 2, 2011.
  4. ^ "Rice Village Apartments program.pdf."[dead link] Rice University. Retrieved on October 4, 2011.
  5. ^ Sarnoff, Nancy. "Rice acquiring apartments for conversion into student housing." Houston Business Journal. September 2, 2001. Retrieved on March 1, 2015.
  6. ^ "Property Comparison." Rice University Graduate Housing. Retrieved on October 2, 2011. "Morningside Square Apartments Updated Oct 26, 2010 2401 & 2409 Shakespeare St Houston, TX 77030" and " Rice Village Apartments Updated Oct 26, 2010 2410 Shakespeare St Houston, TX 77030"
  7. ^ "Roberts Elementary School Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on October 2, 2011.
  8. ^ "Pershing Middle Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on October 2, 2011.
  9. ^ "Pin Oak Middle School." The Southwest District, Houston Independent School District. February 14, 2002. Retrieved on May 24, 2009.
  10. ^ "Lamar High School Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on October 2, 2011.

Coordinates: 29°43′08″N 95°24′00″W / 29.719°N 95.400°W / 29.719; -95.400