Rice University Patricia Lipoma Kraft and Jonathan A. Kraft Hall for Social Sciences

Rice University Patricia Lipoma Kraft and Jonathan A. Kraft Hall for Social Sciences

Rice University's new 80,000 square foot School of Social Sciences combines multiple research institutions within one building to serve the largest section of the University’s undergraduate population while also offering professional, masters, and Ph.D. programs. Accommodating Rice’s Economics and Sociology departments as well as four research institutes: the Kinder Institute for Urban Research; the Houston Education Research Consortium (HERC); the Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance; and the Texas Policy Lab, the building will also house the Dean’s Suite and innovative classroom, collaboration, and event spaces for students, faculty, and visitors. Currently in construction, Rice University officially broke ground on the new facility September 2018. 

Higher Education, Institutional, Non-profit, 
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Rice University Kraft Hall Aerial
Rice University Kraft Hall Connection
Rice University Kraft Hall Gateway

The first building on a new formal axis of the expanding campus, the School of Social Sciences serves as a physical and intellectual hinge, creating a new policy corridor in concert with the Graduate School of Business and the Baker Institute for Public Policy.

An inner courtyard will blend fields of native plantings with areas for informal gatherings beneath a verdant canopy of river birch trees, transforming Rice University’s traditional formal courtyard pattern into a dynamic and productive ecological system. The building’s mass and envelope take advantage of Houston’s climate to amplify breezes and mediate the heat and sun.

 Understanding that the life of a student extends beyond the classroom, Kraft Hall was designed to create diverse spaces for a range of uses, both inside and out. From within, informal spaces are clustered around stairways and circulation routes to foster impromptu meetings. The transparent skin throughout offers abundant natural light and views to the courtyard. Larger public spaces are located on the ground floor and together, with the enclosure’s transparency, are on display for the campus learning environment.

Rice University Kraft Hall Courtyard
Rice University Kraft Hall Stair