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Moody Center for the Arts

Michael Maltzan Architecture

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Rice University


50,000 sq. feet

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Michael Maltzan Architecture (MMA) and Rice University have shared new renderings and construction photos of the new Moody Center for the Arts, which is set to open in Houston on Feb. 24, 2017. MMA founder Michael Maltzan, FAIA, described transparency and openness as central to the project's design intent in a release yesterday announcing the scheduled opening.

“The interior of the Moody is designed to foster a sense of openness and possibility," Maltzan said in the release. "This emphasis on transparency extends to the building’s exterior, whose brick-clad upper story seems to float over an entry level encased in floor-to-ceiling glass."

In addition to studio classrooms, the 50,000-square-foot center will include a café, a 150-seat black box theater, and a maker lab with wood, metal, and rapid prototyping fabrication spaces. A large gallery will feature Mona Hatoum as artist-in-residence upon the Center's completion, where she will prepare an exhibition at the nearby Menil Collection.

Project Description

August 10, 2016 – Alison Weaver, Executive Director of Rice University’s Moody Center for the Arts, announced today that this new trans-disciplinary lab for creativity will celebrate its opening on February 24, 2017.

Designed by acclaimed Los Angeles-based architect Michael Maltzan to bring together the Rice community and the Houston public and enable innovative artistic work to flourish, the $30 million, 50,000-square-foot Moody will serve as an experimental platform for creating and presenting works in all disciplines, a flexible teaching space to encourage new modes of making and a forum for creative partnerships with visiting national and international artists.

The Moody is proud to announce that its first artist-in-residence will be Mona Hatoum, the internationally acclaimed Beirut-born Palestinian artist whose work in sculpture, performance, video and installation is currently the subject of a major survey exhibition at London’s Tate Modern. She will take up her residency in spring 2017, shortly after the official opening of the Moody. Underscoring the Moody’s collaborative goals within Houston’s rich cultural scene, Hatoum will devote her residency in part to developing works for a major exhibition, her first in the United States in 20 years, at the Menil Collection, October 6, 2017-Feburary 25, 2018. The Menil will join with the Moody in presenting a public lecture by the artist.

Open and accessible to the public, the Moody is dedicated to trans-disciplinary collaboration in the arts, sciences and humanities, and will establish a new arts district on the campus, close by the distinguished Shepherd School of Music and the permanent James Turrell Twilight Epiphany Skyspace. The Moody will provide facilities including art gallery space, a 150-seat black box theater, a gallery for experimental performance and a café. Its defining feature is the light-flooded, interdisciplinary maker lab at its core: an atrium with immediate access to surrounding resources that include a wood shop, metal shop, paint booth, rapid prototyping areas, studio classrooms, technology lending library and audiovisual editing booths.

David Leebron, President of Rice University, said, “The Moody Center for the Arts is both a major new facility for our campus and Houston and a vital new program, which together demonstrate Rice’s commitment to the arts and to creativity as central to our university’s mission. While Rice earned early in its history a strong reputation in the sciences, engineering, and the professions, we are today equally proud of our dedication to and success in the arts and humanities, which contribute in essential ways to every education and every intellectual endeavor. The Moody Center is a stake in the ground for our continuing arts commitment, and we look forward to welcoming everyone on campus and the entire Houston community to the Moody.”

Alison Weaver said, “By establishing the Moody, Rice both reflects and supports the way students are learning and artists are working today – collaboratively and across disciplines. We’re honored to welcome Mona Hatoum as the first international artist to join our program, and we’re thrilled to be inaugurating Michael Maltzan’s extraordinary building, which perfectly embodies what we hope to achieve at the Moody.”

Michael Maltzan’s striking contemporary design, with its bold geometric shapes and inviting transparency, will make the Moody a beacon on Rice’s campus while affirming the mission to foster connections across disciplines.

Michael Maltzan, founder and principal of Michael Maltzan Architecture, said, “The interior of the Moody is designed to foster a sense of openness and possibility. The double-height makers’ space at its heart can be imagined as an interior quad, echoing the other quads found throughout the Rice campus. This interior landscape brings the most diverse programmatic functions into contact with one another, while opening views out to the campus. This emphasis on transparency extends to the building’s exterior, whose brick-clad upper story seems to float over an entry level encased in floor-to-ceiling glass. With pedestrian paths cutting across the site’s open lawn and into the building, a set of stairs on the north façade turning back to form an interior amphitheater, and the cantilevered mass of the second story creating covered walkways below, the Moody will be one of the most active social spaces on the Rice campus, and a welcoming facility for all of Houston.”

Development of the Moody is made possible by a $20 million grant from the Texas-based Moody Foundation, a charitable organization with an emphasis on education, social services, children’s needs and community development, with additional generous support from the Brown Foundation and other donors.
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