I’ve written before about the architect Louis Kahn and his visit to Rice in 1967. Recently, though, I came across some slides in O. Jack Mitchell’s papers, which combined with some documents tucked far away in an information file tell another interesting story about Kahn’s relationship with Rice.
In the fall of 1969 members of the Rice Board of Trustees traveled to New York to visit Kahn, expressing their desire to engage him to design an art center for the university. He quickly agreed and by December was busy with a preliminary study of program and project scope. What he came up with was a massive proposal, which he delivered to the Board in July, 1970. Here’s a later drawing that shows the scale of the proposed project. Everything orange was new:
And here are some of the slides, which I especially love because of the way they just photographed the model sitting on the sidewalk. Also, look at all those trees!
Are you surprised that we didn’t build this? I’m sure not. It had been a rough couple of years at Rice, what with the Masterson Crisis, the whole Abbie Hoffman debacle, and the generally frayed governance relationships. It’s also not irrelevant that Norman Hackerman, charged first and foremost with straightening out some real budget problems, arrived just about the time that the board decided to table this ambitious project. I really wish I knew more about this–there had to have been some wildly interesting conversations taking place.
Bonus: I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a hose hooked up to Lovett Hall before.
Except maybe for this?