Academics

Overview

Rice Architecture is the meeting point of design and discourse; of theory and practice; of past and future; of Rice and the world; and of our two inseparable aims: to educate architects and to position our graduates as leaders in a rapidly changing world.

Generosity binds these aims to one another. Inside the school, the exchange of knowledge depends upon the magnanimous sharing of intellectual culture among students, faculty, and visitors to the school. Beyond the school’s boundaries, Rice Architecture is a catalyst, an advocate for architects and architecture to step unflinchingly into public life. Taken together, these mandates underscore our goal of forming architects whose ideas will continue to reverberate across contemporary culture. Our ambitions are simple. Our graduates will be prepared with knowledge. They will always be curious about what they don’t yet know. And they will continue to propose alternatives that foster an unyielding optimism about the future.

Undergraduate
Arch 301, Lara Hansmann

About

Rice Architecture's top-ranked undergraduate program consists of two consecutive degrees: the first four years of study result in a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture; students subsequently receive a Bachelor of Architecture professional degree after an additional two years, one of which includes the renowned Rice Architecture Preceptorship program. Preceptorship places our B.Arch. students in notable offices across the world where they gain a year's worth of mentored experience as paid employees.

The Rice Architecture B.A. is, decidedly, a liberal arts degree: our curriculum exposes students to the full breadth of architecture. The core curriculum coordinates courses in history/theory, technology, and design and organizes requirements in such a way as to optimize electives, permitting students to take advantage of course offerings across the university. The aim of this breadth is to ensure that Rice Architecture graduates will be ideally positioned as leaders in practice and other endeavors. In addition to the invaluable Preceptorship experience, fifth year students directly engage practice in the advanced Totalization studio in the fall semester of their final year; this unique program embeds distinguished consultants in the studios, emphasizing the intrinsic relationship of design to other fields, ranging from finance to fabrication. Finally, Rice Architecture emphasizes that architecture is a global practice that is as significant an issue in Houston (the fourth largest city in the United States) as it is in the European base of our Rice Architecture Paris program, and in our many courses that incorporate global travel.

Undergraduate
Freshmen Studio

Students who have been admitted to the school of architecture can elect at the end of their second year, or any time thereafter, to pursue the Bachelor of Art in Architectural Studies major. This major does not lead to a professional degree, requires fewer studios, and is designed to allow students to pursue other academic interests in greater depth. Students cannot apply as freshmen for this track of study.

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Facets of the Undergraduate Program

Preceptorship Program

Preceptees intern for a minimum 9-month period, participate in a variety of roles that provide a better understanding of the scope of professional practice, and are paid normal wages. Current firms include Johnston Marklee in L.A., Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, SHoP, Thomas Phifer & Partners in N.Y., and Renzo Piano Building Workshop in Paris, among others. 

Rice Architecture Paris

There may well be a Paris, Texas, but Paris, France is nothing like Houston. Founded in 2002 and located near la Bastille, Rice Architecture Paris provides advanced B.Arch. and M.Arch. students with a semester-long complement to Rice Architecture Houston.

Totalization Studio

Totalization recognizes that architecture is generalist, collaborative, and unpredictable, and that architectural innovation only happens when that totality is nimble enough to accommodate contingencies. Nationally-recognized consultants are embedded in our Totalization studios, advising students on structure, MEP, facades, and other factors.

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