Rice University, Howard Keck Hall

Houston, Texas

  • FIRM



    Rice University

  • AREA

    88,490 sq.ft.





Designed by William Ward Watkin in 1925, the four-story building suffered from age and insensitive renovations. The design team was asked to restore the brick and stone exterior, and redesign the interior to serve the biophysics and bioengineering departments. Goals included world-class laboratories; creating flexible, adaptable and aesthetic spaces that would increase ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$203.42CITATIONRenovation/Modernization CitationFEATURED IN2000 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYRenovation and collaboration; and preserving and enhancing the building.

The interiors were gutted to the original brick support walls. The ceiling height was maximized to capture natural light, and original corridors were rerouted to create offices and gathering spaces. A new lobby was added, and arched openings were introduced, mirroring those on the exterior. Original white oak doors were restored, and new laboratory woodwork was designed.

Architectural details from the exterior were incorporated further in the interior. Horizontal masonry banding was reinterpreted into corridor floor patterns; ceramic tile accents crowned new arches in the lobby; and clay, teal and golden colors used in scientific element medallions were introduced as accent colors in public spaces.

"Great interior detailing and finishes...great look in lobby. Very handsome."—2000 Architectural Portfolio jury

Photographer: ©Aker/Zvonkovic Photography