rice university has selected adjaye associates, the firm led by sir david adjaye, to lead of the design of its new student center in houston, texas. the new school facility will largely replace the rice memorial center (RMC), with only the chapel and the cloisters remaining in their current state. the competition-winning concept lays out a three-story, 80,000-square-foot structure that incorporates the functions at the RMC, along with a multicultural center and a rooftop auditorium. importantly, the facility will incorporate one important facet of the current RMC: a memorial to 10 navy ROTC students who died when their transport plane crashed in 1953 and for whom the building is named.

david adjaye plans rice university student center as 'new campus anchor point'
the multicultural center at the proposed student center at rice university
all images courtesy of adjaye associates



‘we are extremely humbled and honored to have won the competition to design the new student center at rice university,’ says david adjaye, founder and principal of adjaye associates. ‘this is an important and inspiring project for adjaye associates and we look forward to collaborating with rice to imagine a new campus anchor point that engages its community in the most inclusive way possible. responding to the architectural history of the university, the city of houston and the region, the student center will come to embody its position at the heart of the campus, fostering catalytic connections between undergraduates, graduates, faculty and staff activated in both the threshold and formalized spaces of the new building.’

david adjaye rice university
the proposed 80,000-square-foot building includes a rooftop auditorium



adjaye associates was among three finalists to present concepts remotely for the new facility. the winning design was selected by a committee of rice administrators and faculty, with input from the rice student association and graduate student association. ‘we hosted a design competition, which is not something rice typically does for a major capital project,’ explains university architect george ristow. ‘their concept is strong and it’s something we are very excited to pursue, but the design itself is very preliminary right now.’ the project is set to break ground in the first quarter of 2022, with anticipated completion scheduled the fall of 2023.



project info:


name: rice university student center
location: houston, texas
client: rice university
design architect: adjaye associates
executive architect: kendall/heaton associates
pre-construction services: tellepsen
status: groundbreaking planned for 2022