The Ralph S. O’Connor Building, 2023

It was pointed out to me just recently that although the inside isn’t yet finished, the construction fence around the new O’Connor Building has come down and we can finally get a good look at it. While I don’t absolutely love everything about it (I have mixed feelings about the brick work here) I think it works well and it was definitely badly needed.  Seeing Ralph’s name in front is bittersweet:

There are some neat looking little angles. Here, for example, is Uncle Jupe, presiding at the corner where the Mech Lab cloister meets the new building:

The O’Connor Building sits on almost precisely the same footprint as Abercrombie but it is much, much bigger and really changes the feel of the engineering quad, quite for the better I think. Suddenly the massive scale of 45° 90° 180° makes more sense:

Next up: some related materials.

Bonus: This brought a small smile to my face. There used to be a fence around this (why is it still here?) and I once found myself trapped behind it.

Extra Bonus: The yellow-crested night herons are back. Pro tip: don’t park under the trees where they nest.

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11 Responses to The Ralph S. O’Connor Building, 2023

  1. Benjamin Y Hayden says:

    I wonder it is called “Building” instead of “Hall”?

    • Melissa Kean says:

      I don’t know why. In time honored tradition I’m going to just go ahead and call it O’Connor Hall. They can’t stop me.

      • Keith Cooper says:

        When Duncan Hall was opened, we sat down and looked at all of the then-named buildings on campus. Ones with donor names were a laboratory, hall, library, or college. The only “buildings” were unnamed.

        I haven’t kept up with the naming convention post-1996.

  2. Paul Farmer says:

    Next, please: construction photos of Cannady Hall. I found several of the steel framework for the second level of the arcade that will connect Anderson and Cannady, but not any of the main structure. Thanks.

  3. Richard Schafer says:

    I’m not fond of the brickwork, but I’m glad to see that the bas relief pieces from Abercrombie were preserved.

  4. Doug Williams says:

    At least the herons look like an upgrade from the grackles that tormented earlier generations of Rice students.

    • Bill Peebles, Hanszen '70 says:

      I remember sitting in history class and everybody behind me was laughing. Turns out a had a big pile of grackle poop on my jacket.

  5. Lou Ann Montana says:

    I saw at least one of those herons fly over Reckling Park during the Conference USA tournament – a lovely surprise!

  6. Reginald DesRoches says:

    So exciting for the Ralph S. O’Connor Building & Hall 🙂

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