09/01/16 3:30pm

Moody Center for the Arts, Rice University, Houston, 77005

Moody Center for the Arts, Rice University, Houston, 77005The skirt of first-story glass now appears to be in place along the northern side of Rice University’s in-progress Moody Center for the Arts, per the shot above from Allyn West this week. The second photo, taken a few weeks before as part of a sunset set, shows the facade looking a little bit blue — the magnesium oxide coating covering the building’s exterior bricks picks up different colors in different light conditions, as Molly Glentzer notes, contrasting with the pinkish St. Joe bricks used throughout most of the rest of the campus (as demonstrated by the nearby Shepherd School, shown here peeking through the sculptural hole and pipeburst on the end of its new artsy neighbor).

The $30-million center should be done in February, according to last month’s announcements, and the building is starting to look a lot like the renderings released by Michael Maltzan Architecture: 


Changing Campus Colors
06/02/16 4:30pm

RICE UNIVERSITY’S U-TURN AWAY FROM A MODERNIST OPERA HOUSE rice-opera-proposedA recent Facebook post by architect Allan Greenberg appears to confirm his firm’s involvement with the Rice University opera house project, of which possible renderings and a model recently surfaced in another building on campus. The choice of Greenberg, a self-described classical architect who designed the university’s Humanities Building, represents a major reversal of ideology from the previously announced selection of Diller Scofidio + Renfro (designers of part of New York’s High Line, who once created a building shrouded perpetually in fog). The selection of DS+R was announced in March of 2014; Greenberg had begun to publicly mention involvement with the project by this past December. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo of Rice University opera house design model: Swamplot inbox

06/01/16 4:45pm

Proposed Opera House, Rice University, Houston, 77005

Proposed Opera House, Rice University, Houston, 77005A set of unattended display posters spotted during Rice University’s graduation weekend appear to show interior and exterior renderings of the campus’s planned opera house. The drawings (which were reportedly laid out somewhere in would-be-next-door Shepherd School of Music’s building) included a campus site plan showing the rendered structure’s footprint in place between the existing music school and the remaining stadium-side parking lots.

Rice announced back in early 2014 that Diller Scofidio + Renfro would be the architect for the project — but this design doesn’t really look like the kinds of projects DS+R is known for. DS+R hasn’t yet responded to Swamplot’s attempts to confirm whether or not the firm is still involved.

Included with the presentation materials was the foamcore model below, which renders the building’s ornate exterior details in full 2D and demonstrates some additional landscaping options:


Lifting the Curtain
12/14/15 3:15pm

Proposed Office Building and Parking Garage at Rice University, 6100 Main St., Houston, 77005

Don’t stare: next week, Rice University will begin construction of a new 6-story parking garage, which will be hidden from roving eyes in the Med Center across the street by giant plastic scrims covered in images of fig leaves.  The 496-space garage will go up on part of the existing Lovett parking lot (just off Main Street, northwest of the intersection with Cambridge, at campus Entrance 3) and will come with an attached office building tastefully tucked alongside (in pale blue below):


A Modest Proposal
03/18/15 11:45am

5606 Chaucer Dr., Rice Village, Houston

5606 Chaucer Dr., Rice Village, HoustonIs it Rice’s manifest destiny to extend its land holdings all the way from the Texas Medical Center to West U? The university already owns a bit of frontage on Kirby Dr., on West U’s eastern border, between University Dr. and Amherst St., but the holdings between that far outpost of the Village Arcade and the main campus are a little spotty. Two recent purchases — and accompanying demolitions — appear poised to make the swath more continuous, however.

This week occasioned the demolition of the house at 5606 Chaucer Dr., 2 blocks west of Rice Stadium, directly over the back fence from Little Woodrow’s on Morningside Dr. The home appeared in this morning’s demo report — along with a neighbor at 5608 Chaucer St. (at center left and left in the top photo). County tax records show that an entity connected to Rice purchased both houses late last year. (The second house is listed as 5612 Chaucer St. on the tax rolls).


Tales of Chaucer
02/10/15 12:45pm

Rice Stadium, Rice University, Houston

According to the manager of banished-from-FM KTRU, a new low-power transmitter for the student-run radio station is to be constructed on top of Rice Stadium — now that the FCC has granted permission to the university to return to the airwaves. The new surprise announcement heralds a return to broadcast radio for the student-run organization after several years of internet-and-app exile. Amid protests from students and alumni, Rice University’s administration sold off the radio station’s broadcasting capabilities — including its 50,000-watt transmitter in Humble — to the University of Houston in 2010.


Not Humble
02/02/15 3:30pm


Rice U.’s real estate appetite for Rice Village property just picked up another choice tidbit: 2445 Times Blvd. That’s the 1955 flat-topped 7,500-sq.-ft. retail property on the southeast corner of Times Blvd. and Kelvin Dr. that’s spooned by mega-neighbor Village Arcade (which Rice also owns). In its listing by Davis Commercial, seller Rinkoff Rice Village LP’s asking price for the “trophy” corner was $3.995 million, though it initially sought $4.2 million. Who’s currently on display behind all the storefront windows?


Miss Saigon Goes to Rice
01/23/15 1:00pm

Proposed Brian Patterson Sports Performance Clinic, Rice Stadium, Rice University

It’s been notoriously difficult to fill Rice Stadium — ever since those darn Houston Oilers came to town. Even President Kennedy couldn’t do it when he came by in 1962 to introduce a little mission to the moon he had cooked up. About 8 years ago, giant logo-bearing tarps were planted over the seating areas in both end zones, reducing the capacity (though not permanently) from 70,000 to 47,000.

But the latest planned changes appear to be following a 2-fold strategy to help fill the place: First, Rice University’s new $31.5 million Brian Patterson Sports Performance Center will knock out the stadium’s entire northern end zone — including more than 11,000 seats. Even better, the mostly brick building will have a giant glass wall on the side facing the playing field, which will offer spectators tired of watching the game shaded views into 2 levels of weight rooms. If they can get the scheduling right, with gridiron and pumping-iron action running simultaneously, fans will have the opportunity to enjoy 2 attractions at once. Likewise, flexing athletes will have a pretty good view of the field — and fans, if they’re out there — while they’re working their muscles.


Watch Them Pump and Watch
04/17/14 5:00pm

Demolition of Former Rice Museum, Martell Building, Rice University, Houston

A funny thing happened on the way to carefully disassembling the former Menil Museum on the campus of Rice University so that it could be rebuilt somewhere in the Fourth Ward with the help of a Brown Foundation grant: After workers spent a week or so carefully removing the corrugated galvanized but weathered panels on the building, an excavator began summarily demolishing the rest yesterday. Or almost the rest — work had to be stopped after crews hit a power line, Molly Glentzer at the Chronicle reports.

So by midday today the scene near Rice University’s University Dr. entrance looked something like this:


Oops, Did Somebody Want This?
03/12/14 1:30pm

Martel Building, Former Rice Museum, Rice University, Houston

The Brown Foundation has agreed to provide funds for Rice University to disassemble the corrugated campus building once known as the Rice Museum and reassemble it on a site in the Fourth Ward, the school’s student newspaper reports. A story posted last night by the Rice Thresher‘s Jieya Wen doesn’t precisely identify the intended new location of the building, but art professor and photographer Geoff Winningham tells her that plans are being developed to turn the metal-sided structure into a public art center on its new site: “The building was designed so that it can be disassembled and moved in parts,” he tells Wen. “The university has agreed to allow [the] building to stand for a couple more weeks [in order] to come up with the actual plan for moving the building.”


A More Public Art Center
03/11/14 10:45am

Former Rice Museum, Rice University, HoustonAn excavator may now be parked onsite, but alumni objections have prompted officials at Rice University to delay demolition of the 45-year-old corrugated metal building identified as the “Art Barn” — but known for decades as the home of Rice’s School of Continuing Studies, and before that the Rice Museum. The university’s plan “is still to remove the building from campus,” a spokesperson tells Swamplot. But exactly what form that removal might take is now apparently up for discussion. Officials now plan to “explore a couple of options for removing the building.”


‘Stay of Execution’
02/24/14 1:30pm

Former Rice Museum, Rice University, HoustonFormer Rice Museum, Rice University, Houston

Online arts publication Glasstire is reporting that Rice University’s public-affairs office has confirmed plans to demolish the University’s most famous metal-sided structure. Known since the mid-1980s as the School of Continuing Studies Speros P. Martel Building, the southern half of the 45-year-old duo was dubbed the “Art Barn,” and was originally home to the Rice Museum, a predecessor to the Menil Collection.

John and Dominique de Menil paid for the construction of both corrugated buildings in 1969, and selected the architects, Howard Barnstone and Eugene Aubry. The structures were created to house Rice’s art and art history departments, along with the de Menils’ Institute for the Arts, which the couple moved from the University of St. Thomas after a dispute with that institution. The de Menils later left Rice to start their own little Menil Collection in Montrose. The simple, unassuming design of the structures they left behind became the inspiration and model for a series of “Tin Houses” — Galvalume-clad homes designed by Houston architects primarily in the West End and Rice Military area.


But Andy Warhol’s Tree Will Stay
08/07/13 12:00pm

Here’s what’s going up on the west side of the Rice University campus. Construction began back in December on the 3-story, 53,000-sq.-ft. Anderson Clark building, just off University Blvd. and behind the football stadium, that will serve as the much-larger home for the Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies; plans describe 2 dozen new classrooms, conference space, an auditorium, and a terrace for events.

Check out some purty renderings of the finished building after the jump:


10/15/12 5:51pm

Here’s a video recreation of the 180-degree light-and-sound show from German building-projection artists URBANSCREEN, for Rice University’s centennial celebrations last week. If you weren’t there, you’ll want to watch this full-screen at the highest quality setting — with a screen much, much bigger than what you have. A Lovett Hall-only closeup version is here: