Rice University is in the midst of reimagining one of its most iconic spaces — the Academic Quadrangle. The transformation of the space, flanked by Lovett Hall and Fondren Library, will preserve the university’s rich history and create new areas that will build community and deeper connections to this historic part of campus.
Images of the full redesign are above and below with construction currently underway. Completion of the redesign is anticipated in late spring 2024.
The internationally acclaimed landscape architecture firm Nelson Byrd Woltz has been chosen to work with Rice on this important project. The redesigned Academic Quad will have several gathering spaces with tables, chairs and shade where people can gather, study, relax and reflect.
The quad is one of the university’s most iconic spaces. It’s what people visualize when they think of Rice. That’s why the thoughtful evolution of this space is so important.
Based on walking paths that have developed over the years, a new main, permanent walkway from the quad's southwest corner (Rayzor Hall) to its northeast corner (Herzstein Hall) has been proposed. And, a space near the middle of the quad will be used for performance and civic conversation.
This is a major moment of transformation and opportunity for the quad to outwardly tell what Rice’s values are in the 21st century.
NBW, Rice Board of Trustees, and President Reginald DesRoches have engaged students, faculty, staff and alumni to refine the firm’s proposed design for the Academic Quad, which will include the respectful relocation of the Founder’s Memorial statue of William March Rice to a different location in the quad.
Repurposing the statue’s current location will allow the university to highlight the many voices that reflect the diversity of the university and dedicate areas within the quad to be centers for student community life.
We intend for the Academic Quadrangle to both fully acknowledge the history of our founding and founder, and to mark and celebrate the important evolution and growth of our university over time. We believe the redesign will allow us to move forward as a community, and we are grateful to Rice’s Task Force on Slavery, Segregation and Racial Injustice for its leadership as well as to the many students, faculty, staff, alumni and other valued stakeholders for their thoughts and guidance in helping us reach this decision.
A new monument of similar prominence will be incorporated into the design to commemorate the beginning of the university’s integration a half-century after its opening. Over time, additional monuments representing other milestones in the university’s history will be added over time.
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