John J. Casbarian

John J. Casbarian, FAIA

John J. Casbarian, the Harry K. and Albert K. Smith Professor of Architecture, is the interim dean of Rice Architecture.

Throughout its history Rice Architecture has achieved its record of excellence with a unique collaborative of distinguished faculty, the brightest and most talented students, and a truly dedicated staff. We are defined by the strength of our foundation built over time; we are innovators engaging globally and locally to elevate the built environment and improve lives in an ever-changing world.

Many decades of our award-winning programs and initiatives have spanned leadership transitions and remain central to the school’s success. The bedrock of Rice Architecture includes the distinctive Preceptorship Program, a required nine-month internship for our undergraduates at a leading office in the US and abroad, established five decades ago; the Qualifying Graduate Workshop, now called Option One, one of the earliest beginning architecture graduate programs in the US; our Rice Design Alliance, the school’s community outreach arm dedicated to the advancement of architecture, urban design, and the built environment in the Houston region; an extension of our facility by James Stirling and Michael Wilford, their first completed US building; the Rice Building Workshop (now Construct), which provides students with design-build and social engagement experience; the Rice School of Architecture Paris (RSAP), an immersive architectural and cultural experience for our advanced undergraduate and graduate students; the capstone Senior Studio, a year-long research and design undergraduate project; our Totalization Program, a comprehensive design studio heavily based on applied research, which also includes travel and input from leading technical consultants; and finally Present Future, an intensive three-semester research program that culminates in a Master of Arts.

There are many new opportunities propelling us forward. We will search for brilliant and innovative faculty to complement our core. We will explore the potential of interdisciplinary curricular initiatives.  And most immediately, we will launch pre-design for a new extension to our facility led by Karamuk Kuo of Zurich, Switzerland. Working together we are poised to accomplish exciting and meaningful changes in this year ahead.

We move forward as a tight-knit and caring school, situated in the most diverse city in the US, with a shared ambition of making a difference in the world. We are in a unique position as the smallest of eight schools at Rice University to derive all the benefits of a first-rate research institution, and we are unencumbered enough to both adjust our strategic goals as needed and implement them instantly and effectively. Ours is an optimistic conversation about how architecture can be the most effective agent for change and advancement in a rapidly evolving context of limited resources, climate change, social upheaval, and political uncertainty. Each of our faculty member’s research shapes the collective direction of our approach and every student contributes critical ideas to the collaborative enterprise. We continually balance an enlightened view of professional practice with speculative research that probes the boundaries of convention. Our common goal is to produce design leaders who have the transformational skills, means, and abilities to engage in their communities at the highest levels in shaping their environment for the benefit of society at large.

Join us as we continue to reshape our world.


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