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:
What’s it blocking? The view to Rice’s late-fifties brick-moderne shy pop icon, Hamman Hall. But you’ll still be able to see those feet at the auditorium’s entrance from under the new building’s underbelly:
Here’s another snapshot of the new structure, trying to work its way to the camera from between two Brown buildings, George and Herman (Herman’s the one on the right — better at math):
Brockman Hall won’t block the courtyard entirely — just the sun from seeing too much of it. Three above-ground levels will have labs, lecture halls, and offices. Mechanical equipment and an observatory will hang out on the fourth floor.
Flood protection is also critical to the design, since much of the expensive equipment for physics research will be set up in the basement to take advantage of the noise and vibration control underground. “If the basement floods, we’ll lose as much as we’re putting into the building,” said [former dean of natural sciences Kathleen] Matthews, the Stewart Memorial Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology.
- Gift will help fund new physics building at Rice University [Rice News]
- Rice University wins stimulus funding for physics building [Rice University]
- Rice University receives $11 million grant to build new physics building [Houston Business Journal]
- Rice center gets $11.1 million from federal stimulus [Houston Chronicle]