The Ralph S. O’Connor Constructing for Engineering and Science / Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Textual content description offered by the architects. The most recent and largest analysis facility in Rice College’s historic core campus — the Ralph S. O’Connor Constructing for Engineering and Science is now open. The 250,000-square-foot O’Connor Constructing offers college students and researchers with technology-rich amenities that align with the College’s aim to remain on the forefront of scientific discovery and to recruit the nation’s finest scientific and engineering minds. Situated on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Texas, Rice is constantly ranked among the many nation’s prime 20 universities by U.S. Information & World Report and the O’Connor Constructing will solely elevate this standing.
An epicenter for interdisciplinary collaboration, the brand new high-performance facility consists of state-of-the-art laboratories, school rooms, places of work, a restaurant, in addition to many interactive gathering areas. A multi-purpose occasion area with an outside terrace sits on the prime stage with views of the campus and the Houston skyline.
The design prompts the adjoining Engineering Quad and extends the vitality of the campus into the constructing, the place a five-story central atrium creates a hub of exercise, connecting to seminar rooms, break areas, and casual gathering areas. A clear glass facade on the atrium’s floor stage showcases this exercise to the campus at massive. On the constructing’s fundamental entrance, a cantilevered sculptural stair is framed by brick partitions and a fritted glass wall.
The O’Connor Constructing was designed by SOM with a deliberate concentrate on fostering collaboration in 4 key analysis areas: superior supplies, quantum science and computing, city analysis and innovation, and the power transition. To advertise this interplay, the stair tower and the central hub join a sequence of stepped double-height collaboration areas on totally different ranges. Intimate convention rooms and break areas with heat, pure supplies present additional alternatives for casual studying and connection.
Circulation by way of and across the constructing is inspired, reinforcing the campus’s well-established pedestrian arcade community. A strong artwork program incorporates new works from world-recognized artists and the enduring bas-relief sculpture Power by sculptor William McVey that was preserved from the unique Abercrombie Engineering constructing.
Sustaining the identifiable aesthetics of the historic campus, the facade of the O’Connor Constructing includes a composition of brick and punched home windows articulated by a sequence of angled brick pilasters and fins. The coated arcade alongside the western edge is shaded by a fragile brick and stone veil that modulates daylight for thermal and visible consolation. The arcade veil consists of alternating bands of brick and cast-stone modules, spaced aside with rotated bricks in between, permitting gentle to filter between the gaps.
A dedication to sustainability and lowering the constructing’s carbon footprint was achieved by way of each passive and lively design methods, together with maximizing daylight, strategic placement of angled pilasters and vertical fins, and using skylights to melt the robust Texas solar. Thanks to those passive design methods and an energy-efficient HVAC and lighting system, the laboratories use 50 p.c much less power than a comparable analysis area.