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Wednesday, May 22, 2024 — Houston, TX

Architecture students design, build Hermann Park Centennial Pavilion

By Jieya Wen     4/24/14 2:43pm

The Rice Building Workshop, an organization within the Rice University School of Architecture, is constructing a pavilion in Hermann Park for the park’s centennial celebration. The pavilion is located next to the Metro Rail Hermann Park/RiceU station and is expected to be finished by April 25, according to Rice Building Workshop Fellow Peter Muessig. 

The Rice Building Workshop, an organization within the Rice University School of Architecture, is constructing a pavilion in Hermann Park for the park’s centennial celebration. The pavilion is located next to the Metro Rail Hermann Park/RiceU station and is expected to be finished by April 25, according to Rice Building Workshop Fellow Peter Muessig. 

“[Construction] just started this semester,” Muessig, who received a Master of Architecture from Rice in 2012, said. “Design had been pursued last semester, but [students] had to start from scratch once [the Rice Building Workshop] addressed the budget for construction.”



Hermann Park commissioned 20 different works of art to celebrate its centennial, including the pavilion by Rice University and one pavilion by the University of Houston. The Rice University pavilion will remain at Hermann Park until next April, according to Danny Samuels, program director of Rice Building Workshop. 

Architecture graduate student Siqi Zhu designed the pavilion, according to Rice Building Workshop Fellow Jason Fleming.  

“There is sort of a dark grey outside [on the outside frame of the triangle], and the inside face is bright, yellowy green,” Fleming, who received a Master of Architecture from Rice in 2012, said. “There is a pathway outside, so as you move around the piece, you can appreciate the different frames. It is constantly changing and evolving as you move around the space.”

Fleming said three sets of benches made of concrete sit at the base of the steel triangle.

“There is a series of tensile cables that will run from the points to the benches,” Fleming said. “It implies a continuous plane that weaves all the pieces together.”

Muessig said the inspiration for this pavilion was “convergence,” which is represented by how three institutions — Rice University, the Texas Medical Center and the museum district — center around Hermann Park.

“The overall form of the pieces and a lot of details that make it up all play up this notion of convergence,” Muessig said. “There are these planes that suggest larger forms, and everything is just held slightly apart. The project really tries to get people passing by to pause for a moment to move around it. We try to draw them in to understand all the different surfaces and the faces of it.”

According to Samuels, the Rice Building Workshop involves a course offered by the School of Architecture to provide students the opportunity to apply their creativity to practical demands in the Houston community.

“The Rice Building Workshop began in 1996 when [then] Dean Lars Lerup said to get architecture students out of the studio and into the community,” Samuels said. “We started looking at affordable houses. We started a relationship with the Project Row Houses over [in] the Third Ward. We’ve also done installations, exhibitions and other types of things. Any community-based problem that needs the attention of architecture, we try it.”

Samuels said students in the Rice Building Workshop course, other Rice students and Rice alumni have been working on building this pavilion.

“Architecture students who take the course are involved, but we also like to make relationships with other schools,” Samuels said. “For instance, engineering students have been working on this project. Some of the concrete work has been done by civil engineering students.”



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