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:


09/24/12 2:26pm

THE PLAN TO MOVE RICE UNIVERSITY CLOSER TO THE WOODLANDS — OR TRADE IT FOR THE GALLERIA It’s true, and was apparently taken reasonably seriously at the time. From the Rice Thresher in February 1973. [marmer, commenting on Headlines: Calculating Lower Westheimer’s Hip Factor; Westbury Gardens’ Walkable Kitsch]

06/29/12 2:22pm

A team of researchers at Rice University have created a lithium-ion battery that can be spray-painted on to any surface. The first surface they tested the 5-layer power-storing combo on was a set of bathroom tiles. Since then, flexible, glass, and steel surfaces — as well as a beer stein emblazoned with the Rice insignia — have been tested and used successfully to store small amounts of electricity. Graduate student and lead author of the team’s report Neelam Singh imagines buildings sheathed with battery-sprayed ceramic tiles that are then covered by solar cells, integrating energy gathering and storage functions on a structure’s exterior skin.


02/08/12 10:55am

IS RICE WORTH IT? Having stood up for Houston’s heat, humidity, flying cockroaches, mosquitoes, sprawl, flooding, “no mountains,” and other typically unheralded features of the local landscape (even as more official civic campaigns shied away from the task) the folks behind the cité vérité Houston. It’s Worth It. promotional campaign are ready to move onto their next crowdsourced publishing project. “Contrary to the way it might sound,” declares a splash page announcing the project, HIWI: Rice “is not a cookbook. Nor, for all you anxious undergrads, is it a text book.” Instead, the publishers at communications firm ttweak are hoping to produce a collection of comments, stories, and photos that’ll end up serving as “part love letter, part roast, part remembrance” of Rice University, on the occasion of the institution’s 100th birthday. Working from the same model that produced the original Houston. It’s Worth It. book and HIWI: Ike, the publishers are soliciting contributions from anyone who has anything to say about the campus, its people, and its place in the city: “Have you ever shot bottle rockets in the parking lot? Were you there for Kennedy’s speech? Ever knocked back a few at Valhalla? . . . Even if you’ve never set foot inside a Rice classroom, we want to know what the ‘Institute’ means to you.” [HIWI; previously on Swamplot] Photo: ttweak

03/25/11 12:56pm

A multimillion-dollar gift from eclipse chaser and Rice University trustee Suzanne Deal Booth will be used to build a monumental sod-covered pyramid that will serve as the focus of the campus’s long central axis. Construction is scheduled to start early next month on the $6 million mound, which will contain a room inside with bench seating, as well as a second level above. At the top of the flat-topped pyramid, a 72-ft.-square pavilion with a square hole cut into the top will frame views of the sky.


03/22/11 1:59pm

A few days ahead of its scheduled public debut later this week, Swamplot photographer Candace Garcia got the new Brockman Hall for Physics to sit still for a brief photo session at its new Rice University home. (That wasn’t too difficult: The structure features underground labs specially outfitted to dampen vibrations.) For the occasion, the university’s newest model chose several different outfits: a gridded terracotta rainscreen over a slip of colored aluminum composite cladding on its southern face, a patterned glass curtain wall silk-screened with a Penrose pattern on the north, and underneath, some plain concrete leggings:


11/11/10 11:11pm

KTRU SALE: NO NEED FOR SNEAKY VISITS AFTER ALL Texas Watchdog has now released all the emails it collected related to the sale of Rice University radio station KTRU’s FM broadcast license and its not-so-shabby transmitter in Humble to the University of Houston. And for the local-radio-obsessed, there are plenty of repetitive conversations to pore through. A couple of the messages, though, bring a little more clarity to what happened after one of the deal’s brokers, Public Radio Capital director of acquisitions Erik Langner, suggested that Rice invent some pretext to allow a consulting engineer to inspect the station (which is run by students they didn’t want to tip off that a sale was likely to take place). It appears no subterfuge was needed, after all. “They brought the station manager and one or two of the key staff into the loop on the sale,” a colleague of Langner’s wrote to KUHF general manager John Proffitt about a month later. As Texas Watchdog reporter Steve Miller notes, Proffitt later identifies the KTRU staff members as the station’s general manager and chief engineer — both of whom are Rice employees. [Texas Watchdog; previously on Swamplot]

11/11/10 10:35am

GETTING A GOOD LOOK AT KTRU WITHOUT TIPPING OFF STUDENTS Or: Beware of those “inspectors” the owner brings through. Emails obtained by Texas Watchdog detail a sneaky technique agents acting on behalf of Rice University may have used to put together the sale of student-run radio station KTRU to the University of Houston — without having complete access to the facilities. In an email sent in May of this year to another broker representing the university in the still top-secret transaction, the director of acquisitions of Public Radio Capital suggested a way to put together a complete list of the station’s assets without “tipping off” the students in charge of the station that a sale was being negotiated: “We request that Rice provide a cover story for an independent 3rd party engineering consultant, to be chosen by UH, to perform an inspection of the transmitter building, transmitter equipment, transmission line, tower and antennae. Rice should actually hire the consultant we specify, so there will be no question as to the source of the inspection, which of course will have to be coordinated with the station engineer somehow. Rice can use any reason it chooses, some of which can include change of insurance, inventory needs, or any other plausible explanation.” Other emails indicate Rice officials had wanted to put KTRU up for sale 2 years ago; UH became interested in the station — now slated to broadcast in a classical-music format — early last year. [Texas Watchdog; previously on Swamplot] Late Update: Rice didn’t have to lie.

10/01/10 11:32am

Rice University Facilities, Engineering, and Planning department spokesperson Susann Glenn denies there’s been any increase in the number of reported on-campus sightings of rats over the last 2 years. But senior Marina Masciale tells the Rice Thresher rats have “pretty much infiltrated” the new section of Hanszen College. Her evidence: “rat turds all over the floor of my room and even on my bed.”

A sticky rat trap was put up in her room to try and catch the rat, but the trap only caught a cockroach which Masciale believes the rat then proceeded to eat, as it was gone the next day. “Housing and Dining has since then upgraded to heavy-duty rat traps – the ones that snap,” Masciale says.

After some holes were patched, Masciale is sleeping in her own room again. But she tells reporter Brooke Bullock

she can still hear the rats scratching in the A/C unit. The girls across the hall have heard it in their room as well, according to Masciale.

“It’s still alive, and it’s trying to escape,” Masciale said.

Photo of Hanszen College New Section: Wikipedia [license]

08/18/10 3:10pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: GRADUATING VALHALLA “The Rice Thresher reported in 2009 that the administration was considering raising Valhalla’s rent by almost 250%. [Update: The actual proposed increase turned out to be 30 percent, taking into account existing fees; see comment below —Ed.] Since the staff is all-volunteer, the rent increase would be passed along in the price of beer, which is one of the main reasons to go to Valhalla of course. (The other being that Rice is the largest outdoor drinking area in Houston.) So even if the administration isn’t planning on taking Valhalla down all at once, it could be done in by a slow strangulation of rising costs.” [Katk, commenting on Rice Taking KTRU Off the Airwaves, Handing Over Humble Transmitter to KUHF]

01/12/10 12:39pm

BAYLOR AND RICE: THE DEAL IS OFFICIALLY DEAD Just out from the presidents of the two institutions: A formal “we’re not going to merge” statement: “Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University have ended our discussions about a possible merger of our two institutions. At the same time, both institutions have agreed to develop further our existing academic and research relationship, which has grown significantly over the years.” [Rice University]

08/07/09 10:10am

WHAT H-E-B GOT THAT KROGER DON’T GOT: WORKING ALL THE ANGLES IN THE WEST U GROCERY SHOWDOWN Reporting live from the Battle of Buffalo Speedway, Allison Wollam scrutinizes the new Buffalo Market arsenal: “’We are based in Texas so we have certain items that we know Texans eat,’ [H-E-B Houston president] McClelland says. ‘We have an inherent advantage because we know how Texans think better than a grocer based …. anywhere else would know.’ For example, McClelland points out that H-E-B carries a brisket that can be fully cooked in 45 minutes that garnered more than $25 million in revenue for the chain last year. The grocer also offers crawfish sushi as well as Texas-shaped cheese and hamburgers.” Plus, why campus might seem a bit tighter this year: “Because parking is also limited, the grocer has reached an agreement with nearby Rice University to allow its employees and vendors to park on the campus parking lot and be shuttled to the store.” [Houston Business Journal; previously on Swamplot]

07/29/09 4:39pm

Why is it so hard to get a definitive image of Rice’s new physics building? There’s no real uncertainty about it — it’s already under construction. It’s just that the thing is going in so close to its neighbors it’s hard to find a good angle for a solo portrait.

The Brockman Hall for Physics, funded in part by $11.1 million of — yes, stimulus money doled out by the National Institute of Standards and Technology — and designed by Philadelphia architects KieranTimberlake, will plug up an unnamed courtyard on the fifties-and-science-themed north part of the campus.

Here’s a rendering showing the 110,000 sq.-ft. building blocking the path between the legs and through the open portal of 17-year-old George R. Brown Hall: