2022 AIA Houston Design Award

Contractor: HCS
Structural Engineer: Insight Structures
Photography: Leonid Furmansky and César Béjar Studio

Rice Magister House

As part of Rice University’s unique residential college system, the new Will Rice Magister House serves a dual purpose. More than a single-family home for the magister, it also acts as a gathering space for approximately 300 students who make up the Will Rice College community. Sited within the heart of the campus, the house respects the aesthetic and material traditions of the surrounding buildings, while demonstrating progressive design and performance standards that set an example for future magister houses. The design of the house brings a more contemporary collection of spaces to the established tradition of the residential college system.

Within the house, the massing articulates the programmatic split between single family home and community event space. A floating brick volume contains of the private family spaces, while also providing shade and shelter to the glazed walls and patios of the public spaces below. At the ground level, planar columns create a rhythm linking public areas of the dining and living room with exterior spaces, including a public garden at the front of the house and a more private family yard at the back. A wood-wrapped stair core acts as a sculptural moment to formalize the transition between public and private space. A skylit double-height space beneath a sculpted soffit guides soft light into the interior from above, while floor to ceiling windows that wrap the perimeter provide views to the landscape.