Adjaye Associates
rice student center

Rice University picks architect for planned student center

Nov. 2, 2020
Adjaye Associates will design the 80,000-square-foot center, which is scheduled to open in 2023.

Rice University in Houston has selected the architecture firm Adjaye Associates to lead the design of a new student center that will largely replace the Rice Memorial Center.

The university says in a news release that the architect’s winning concept lays out a three-story, 80,000-square-foot structure that incorporates the functions at the Memorial Center, along with a Multicultural Center and a rooftop auditorium.

Rice hopes to break ground on the project in the first quarter of 2022. Current plans are for a few elements of the memorial center – the chapel and the cloisters – to remain, while the majority of the facility would be demolished. The anticipated completion date is fall 2023.

Adjaye Associates was among three finalists to present concepts remotely for the new facility. The winner was selected by a committee of Rice administrators and faculty, with input from student associations.

The university says the architecture firm, with offices in Accra, Ghana; London and New York, is best known for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

Sir David Adjaye, founder and principal of the firm, was recently named the 2021 recipient of the Royal Gold Medal, selected by Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of the Royal Institute of British Architects. It honors those who have had a significant influence on the advancement of architecture.

A gift of $15 million from the Brown Foundation made it possible to move the project forward, according to Kathi Dantley Warren, Rice's vice president for Development and Alumni Relations.

Houston-based Kendall/Heaton Associates will serve as executive architect, and Tellepsen will provide preconstruction services.

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