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Rice University Opens Ralph S. O'Connor Building for Engineering and Science

Published 9/29/2023
Rice University - Ralph S. O'Connor Building for Engineering and Science
Rice University - Ralph S. O'Connor Building for Engineering & Science
Rice University - Ralph S. O'Connor Building for Engineering & Science

Rice University opened the Ralph S. O'Connor Building for Engineering and Science in September of 2023 in Houston. Designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill with Scientia Architects as laboratory design consultant, the $152 million facility provides maker spaces, seminar rooms, a dedicated prototyping center, two classrooms, and nearly 50 labs. Flexible office areas include touchdown spaces for faculty, graduate students, and staff. Housing the George R. Brown School of Engineering and the Wiess School of Natural Sciences, the 266,000-sf structure can support both wet and dry research venues and a total of 250 fume hoods. The five-story development will accelerate the translation of research discoveries into intellectual property by allowing students and investigators to work side-by-side with industry partners as part of a dynamic curriculum of experiential education.

Replacing the historic Abercrombie Engineering Laboratory, the collaborative facility offers four interdisciplinary lab neighborhoods for the exploration of advanced materials, energy solutions, urban research, and quantum science and computing. An expansive lobby features a spiral staircase that leads up to a café, while the top floor accommodates a multipurpose reception suite with a stunning outdoor terrace for meetings and events.

Anslow-Bryant Construction began work in fall of 2021 on the flexible and adaptable project, which completes Rice's engineering quadrangle. Specialized lab spaces will continue to be built out through 2026, bringing the total cost to approximately $190 million.

Organization Project Role
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Architect
Scientia Architects
Laboratory Design Consultant
Anslow-Bryant Construction
General Contractor