Nothing engages more in the dialogue of “rationalism in material” than brick. On the one hand, the structural nature of brick was rendered meaningless in front of the modern need for large and flexible spaces; on the other hand, the critique on the new construction systems as cold and indifferent makes the cultural aspects of brick more important than ever.
As a multicultural center in Rice University, this project tries to establish a new ground for brick architecture in which the brick fulfills both its structural value and cultural purpose.
In this project, the image is a brick architecture that inherits the material tradition of the campus; the content, which led to the use of timber, is an architecture with various scales of programs. However, the coexistence of the timber interior and brick facade immediately breaks the continuity between the content and context.
To address this discontinuity, the brick facade was designed to speak to the campus with order, symmetry, and proportion while responding to the interior with “material transfer” which gives it the characters of timber. Moreover, the facade uses “diaphragm bonding” to perform structurally with timber. In this way, the brick not only “decorates the shed” but also participates actively in other fronts of the architecture.
The four columns at the center are the architectural summary of the project that reiterates the theme – material transfer. The details to distinguish the four columns focus on how they meet the ground and the roof, expressing clearly the construction logics of the original and transferred materials.