DS+R to Design Rice University’s New Arts Building

Charles Renfro and Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), have been chosen to design Rice University’s New Arts Building, the Susan and Fayez Sarovim Hall. This design will be a gateway to Rice University’s campus. It will include exhibition areas, studios, shops and faculty offices in an expandable prefabricated building.

The building’s design is a tribute to the pre-engineered, mass-produced metal structures of Art Barn and Media Center that were built by Houston arts patrons John and Dominique de Menil when they established the Institute for the Arts at Rice in 1969. Sarofim Hall removes the steel frame and transforms it into an exterior mini-campus. It welcomes students, faculty, as well as the general public to its covered outdoor spaces. Every surface and space, indoors and out, is a vehicle for “making, thinking and discussing, experimentation, and innovation”.

Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro

This building is the home of one of the university’s key departments, the Visual and Dramatic Arts. It was designed with potential for further spatial expansions. Renfro explained that the building shell can be thought of as an infrastructure piece: it is simple, durable, and timeless while the insides can change as needed. The studios and facilities have been designed to be flexible, allowing students to create their own areas of work according to their artistic interests.

Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro

DS+R’s design of Sarofim Hall also includes a glass-lined pedestrian ArtStret, which divides the four-storey structure. It acts as an entrance to the university and invites passersby to see what’s going on inside. It will be located adjacent to the Moody Center for the Arts, near the Shepherd School for Music’s Alice Pratt Brown Hall as well as the newly constructed Brockman Hall for Opera.

Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Columbia University’s Manhattanville Campus expansion was completed a few months ago. It features two buildings designed jointly by Diller Scofidio+ Renfro (DS+R), and FXCollaborative. This district includes glass-clad buildings set amid Harlem’s masonry vernacular architecture. Henry R. Kravis Hall (11 storeys) and David Geffen Hall (8 storeys) will open in the early 2022. They provide 492,000 square feet each of classrooms, public spaces, and faculty offices.