Rice Architecture
Jun 16, 2023

Douglas Eugene Oliver Jr.
October 21, 1959 – June 12, 2023


We are deeply saddened by and mourn the recent passing of our beloved colleague and friend, Douglas Eugene Oliver Jr. Doug began his teaching career at Rice Architecture as visiting critic from 1997 to 2006 and then as a professor in the practice, teaching design studios, from 2006–21. His specialization was high-performance building design and the role of environmental acoustics in the design of buildings. Doug also taught at Texas A&M University, the University of Houston, and the University of Texas Arlington.

Doug touched the lives of many and was a favorite of faculty and students alike. Will Cannady, professor emeritus, said, “Rice Architecture was lucky to have him as a design critic as his experience was broad and highly refined. He was especially interested in exploring new materials and applications and their impact on design. Even though he was the national director of a large firm, he could be found in his studio at all the odd hours of the day, which was the custom here at the school.”

“Doug was a compassionate teacher, a brilliant architect, and a great friend,” noted John J. Casbarian, director of external programs, B.A.’69, B.Arch. ’72. "I have always admired his patience, talent, and design intelligence, and it was with great pride that I followed his remarkable successes in academia and in the profession over the many years. We have lost a truly wonderful person and a fine architect.”

For Associate Professor Troy Schaum, "Doug was one of the kindest, most accessible, teachers I have met. He had a way of making complex design ideas seem simple and almost inevitable through his much sought-after desk-side critiques. Students with the most difficult building problems would often track him down for advice.”

And, the admiration, affection, and mentorship of many generations of students are captured in the words of Jacki Schaefer, Rice Architecture career and alumni specialist, B.Arch. ’07, who recalled, "Doug was a leader and mentor for so many of us, through his own practice, his later work with many of us at Morris Architects, and his numerous popular studios and seminars at Rice. He embodied the idea that insightful work, curiosity, and kindness bring great rewards in architecture.”

He received his bachelor degree in Environmental Design from Texas A&M University in 1987 and his master of architecture degree with Distinction and a Commendation for Achievement in Design from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (GSD) in 1982. While at Harvard he received a traveling fellowship from the SOM Foundation to study the work of Alvar Aalto. Before Harvard, Doug interned for Peter Eisenman in New York and was his research assistant at the GSD.

In addition to his teaching commitment at Rice, he was also the national design director for Huitt-Zollars. His professional work received 24 blind peer-reviewed design awards throughout his career including a “Progressive Architecture” Design Award for his Childs-Echols House in Houston. He was an active, exceptionally talented, and thoughtful practitioner who always used his abilities to inspire and uplift. His design voice is behind many projects that we pass in Houston every day. His hallmark compassion, patience, and generosity will forever impact and affect the lives of all he touched within the Rice Architecture community.

A celebration of life for Doug will be held Monday, June 19, 2023, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Brookside Funeral Home-Cypress Creek, 9149 Highway 6 North, Houston, Texas, followed by a catered reception at 6:00 p.m. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at dignitymemorial.com/obituaries for the Oliver family.

There will also be an unofficial gathering at Valhalla on Friday, June 23, from 6–9 p.m. for friends, colleagues, and alumni who would like to share memories and celebrate his life, career, and friendship.




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