Protests Delay Planned Demolition of Former Rice Museum, May Mean More Gentle Dismantling, Reconstruction Elsewhere

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.”


Former Rice Museum, Rice University, Houston

One option under consideration now appears to be to let others handle the job: “Supporters of the structure . . . said it had been granted ‘a stay of execution’ for a week or two following an 11th-hour appeal by a group of Rice alumni who offered to pay to dismantle, remove and store the building until a new location can be found,” writes the Chronicle‘s Molly Glentzer. The university received a demolition permit for the building from the city last Friday.

The late John and Dominique de Menil, who were heavily involved in Rice’s arts program at the time, commissioned Houston architects Howard Barnstone and Eugene Aubry to design the Art Barn and its neighbor, the Rice Media Center, for the site along University Dr.

Photos: Rice University

‘Stay of Execution’

One Comment

  • Possibly someone can haul the pieces off and rebuild the buildings else where, these buildings were never intended to be permanent. These buildings were designed in one evening at Mrs Menil’s River Oaks brick barn and thrown up almost as fast, Rice was caught completely off guard, these buildings were never what they had in mind, but you didn’t exactly tell Dominique De Menil no. I’m pleased that Rice is holding firm on the removal of these awful buildings, they were hardly up to the level of Crams masterful grand plan and his gorgeous Byzantine aesthetic, but then I’m sure that was what Mrs De Menil’s intended.