Rice University


Barbara and David Gibbs Recreation & Wellness Center

Houston, Texas

103,000 GSF, 9,569 M2

Architecture, Interior Architecture, Programming

Sustainable Programs
LEED for New Construction & Major Renovations (NC) LEED-NC-Silver

Golden Trowel, Excellence in Masonry Design, Outstanding Sports Facility

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Rice University's campus is renowned for its beauty. The wooded acreage, divided into quadrangles, courtyards and corridors, is lined almost exclusively with Byzantine-style buildings. SmithGroupJJR, as executive architect, collaborated with Lake|Flato’s design team to produce a massive new recreation center blending comfortably into a setting of traditional architecture and natural splendor.

The design responds to its challenges in part by raising gymnasium spaces to the second floor--reducing the new building's footprint and providing ample open space below for intimate courtyards, a leisure pool and other outdoor recreation uses. The first certified LEED-NC Silver recreation center in the state, Gibbs Center provides key amenities the university desired while retaining the campus’ time-honored, graceful beauty.

In fact, the new center strengthens the campus plan through the introduction of covered walkways alongside the building. Linking courtyards and other pedestrian corridors throughout the campus, these paths also allow pedestrians to experience the building features and activities up close.

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Rice University Recreation and Wellness Center recognized with Design Merit Award.