MGA&D’s 50-year Master Plan for Rice University’s 254-acre campus preserves the holistic undergraduate experience for which the school is renowned while planning for sustainable growth in the student/faculty population and research programs. The campus itself is an important component of the student experience, enabled by the mixed-use residential college system. Drawing on the original Cram-Goodhue campus plan of 1910, we used the scale and character of the architecture, landscaped courtyards and connecting pathways to create a cohesive physical environment with a unique sense of place.
The Master Plan increases density by adding rooms to existing residential colleges and new colleges to existing residential quadrangles. The same approach applies to academic and research facilities within the campus center. Our design guidelines for the scale and character of future buildings and open spaces reinforce how people will continue to experience the campus as a series of landscaped outdoor rooms. During the first years of implementing the Master Plan, we assisted Rice in integrating 15 projects – many by other architects — into the campus fabric, representing 27% growth.
Based on the University’s “Vision for the Second Century,” the Master Plan assessed the physical impact of expanding collaborative research programs and the associated growth in population. We considered the urban relationships between the campus and the nearby Texas Medical Center, and addressed mass transportation, sustainable parking strategies and automobile and pedestrian circulation. Stormwater management, site grading and utilities infrastructure were all critical to planning building expansions and new construction of academic, research, residential and recreational facilities throughout the campus.