Design Studio at UofH
Adjunct Prof. Paul Kweton
The Village shatters almost every Houston shopping center stereotype. It has stores with names
such as, on the one hand, Atelier and Artefact and, on the other hand, Dromgooles Typewriter
Shop. There are no anchor stores. It is not a mall. Instead of facing a freeway, it lies in the midst of
tree-lined neighborhoods. And somewhere in it you can find almost anything.
Unplanned and the better for it, the Village manages to remain unpolished, relaxed, and open to
small-scale entrepreneurial vision.
David Kaplan, The Village: If We Dont Have It, You Dont Need It, Cite 36: The Architecture and Design Review of Houston, Winter 1996, 16-21.
The studio will zoom into one specific area of Rice Village, located between Kirby and Kelvin Drive and Rice and Times Boulevard. The objective is to design a holistic, hybrid development comprised of an urban park, pool, and shopping program. Given the Villages eclectic patch-work nature in regards to program and scale, the proposed hybrid development should aim to embrace this aptitude and ignite a conversation for a potential future celebrating a mix of mixed-use/hybrid development alongside existing and new independent small scale retail shops. The project aims to strengthen the original spirit of Rice Village while introducing new programs and leisure activities to maintain a competitive edge to newer developments of larger scale character. The students will investigate Rice Villages past and present from various viewpoints and are challenged to generate a project that offers a functional, aesthetic, monumental, and unique design solution which operates as a focal point, landmark and attractor for Houstioninas and visitors of Houston alike. In addition, the students are asked to scrutinize the relationship of the public pool program, the semi-public retail, and the public urban park program and present a unified building structure that celebrates and highlights the meeting and merging points of those three different programs. The success of the design is based on the execution of a hybrid building typology that goes beyond utilitarian function and whose form and spatial qualities are derived from the merging process of the building functions and spaces as response to this unique site, historical character and attached programmatic / infrastructural challenges.
University of Houston
College of Architecture and Design