Herring Hall

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Houston, Texas, USA
50,000 square feet / 5,000 square meters
1984

This building for the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management responds to three fundamental issues: context, the opportunities for architectural design within contemporary building technology, and function. Herring Hall contains classrooms, faculty and administrative offices, a reading room, lecture hall and student lounge.

Herring Hall responds to the building’s role in shaping a green open space and its position on a campus path. The building forms the third wall of a partially formed green quadrangle on the central campus axis. Composed of shifted, parallel blocks skewered by arcades and corridors, Herring Hall recalls the organization, typology, and narrow proportions of the first Rice buildings.

The building is arranged in three parts around an open court. The main three-​story building includes classrooms, administrative facilities and faculty offices. The West Wing houses the reading room, with a vaulted ceiling and clerestory windows. The East Wing contains a 250-​seat lecture hall. A circulation spine links the three masses on both the ground and second floors. At each end, north-​south cross corridors, extend campus pathways, weaving the school into the campus fabric.

Herring Hall extends the architectural vocabulary of the early Rice buildings, which used massively expressed walls, arches and arcades ornamented with brick patterning, limestone and terra cotta details. Instead of load-​bearing masonry, Herring Hall uses lightweight steel and brick veneer construction. Glazed brick, spandrel glass and glazed tile provide several rhythms of material change. In earlier buildings, carved stone entrance portals were layered to express mass. Entrances in Herring Hall are layered in a way consistent with thin-​wall construction by cutting and folding the brick skin. Ornament is used on the surface of the skin to further express construction and program.

In 1986, Herring Hall received an Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects as well as awards from the Brick Institute of America and AIA Connecticut.