Susan and Fayez Sarofim Hall

A New Home for the
Visual and Dramatic Arts

Join us in fulfilling the vision for arts innovation and excellence at Rice. The student and faculty arts building, which is currently in the design process, will be realized through a combination of university funds and donations, including a lead gift from Susan and Fayez Sarofim and other generous supporters of the arts. Once completed, the facility will house a growing arena of arts teaching and learning at Rice, supporting and invigorating a new generation of creative, innovative Owls.

The visual and dramatic arts at Rice have grown considerably since the late 1960s, when Houston arts icons Dominique and John de Menil made an extraordinary gift to bring a team of art historians, an art library, and a photography and film program to Rice University. A visionary new arts facility, supported by a generous lead gift from Susan and Fayez Sarofim, will build on this tradition and pave the way for more dynamic art classes and collaborations, as well as a fully integrated and connected arts campus.

Dominique De Menil with a student
Houston arts icon Dominique de Menil, pictured with a Rice student in 1972.

Sarofim Hall interior

The 80,000-square-foot student and faculty arts building seeks to expand Rice’s arts curriculum, spur experimentation with and between artistic mediums, and create an ecosystem of artistic engagement that defines contemporary art practice. In addition to providing a new cinema, student exhibition halls, classrooms, rehearsal areas and graduate studios, the building also will feature a state-of-the-art media lab, wet labs and maker spaces, fostering new modes of creative experimentation at the intersection of technology and the arts.

Ultimately, the much anticipated facility will elevate the creative arts at Rice in three key ways. It will support the surging student demand for courses in the Visual and Dramatic Arts department, which already serves roughly a quarter of the school’s undergraduate population. It will enable arts engagement and experimentation across all disciplines, including engineering, architecture and the humanities. And it will cement the southwest corner of campus as a vibrant arts district, joining the nearby Moody Center for the Arts and Shepherd School of Music facilities to create a vital resource for Rice students and faculty, as well as the larger Houston community.

Student sitting in a field

“Susan and Fayez Sarofim Hall will house a vibrant and growing arena of arts teaching and learning and will foster innovations and collaborations that draw students from all schools at Rice, most notably engineering, architecture and the humanities.”
– Dean Kathleen Canning

Rice’s Arts Corridor

The Brown School of Engineering is prepared to partner with Visual and Dramatic Arts to produce a distinctive, top-tier arts and technology program. Sarofim Hall, which includes a state-of-the art media lab, will provide the range of media resources necessary to fuel this powerful collaboration. Programs like this not only facilitate collaborations that generate new ideas, but also ensure that all students, regardless of major, can have a meaningful encounter with the arts.

Student drawing

Meeting Student Demand

Poised on the edge of campus, Sarofim Hall will welcome the vibrant Houston arts community to its exhibits, performances, screenings and more. Its proximity to the Moody Center for the Arts, the Turrell Skyspace and the Brockman Music and Performing Arts Center will connect the illustrious past of the Rice Media Center with the new trajectory of the student arts within the School of Humanities and in their connective capacity well beyond the Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts.

Painting on a ladder

An Arts Education Across the Disciplines

A new student arts building is essential to meeting the ever-increasing demand for art classes and providing new opportunities to collaborate and create. Visual and Dramatic Arts currently serves around 900 students each year, roughly a quarter of the undergraduate population, and it is estimated that it could exceed 1,500 as we continue to increase faculty, add space and engage with a variety of majors, including engineering, computer science and architecture.

Engineering and Art students

A New Gateway to Campus

"Cross-disciplinary discourse is a hallmark of the arts in the 21st century, but it has been difficult at Rice since its facilities are scattered all over campus. Sarofim Hall will not only bring these programs together for the first time, but also facilitate experimentation and collaboration between disciplines through the use of open, transparent, indoor/outdoor and public-facing space."
—Charles Renfro '89

Charles Renfro

Rice’s new home for the student arts is designed by the internationally acclaimed firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro and a team helmed by Rice alumnus Charles Renfro ’89. With architecture honoring the legacy of the former Rice Media Center and Art Barn, the new Sarofim Hall will be an inventive take on the prefabricated building, incorporating exhibition areas, labs, studios, shops, faculty offices and other facilities serving as collaboration points for artists across mediums. The striking design for Sarofim Hall frees the steel frame from its skin, transforming a hermetic building into an extroverted mini-campus, welcoming students, faculty and the general public into its protected exterior spaces to engage with the arts at Rice.

The rendering below shows the view from Stockton Drive (entrance 8) highlighting the west side of the facility.

VADA Rendering

Invest in the arts

Partner with us to elevate the creative arts at Rice. To discuss gift options, please contact a member of our development team:

Emily Stein headshot

Emily Stein
Senior Director of Development for Humanities


Giving to Rice

Development & Alumni Relations
P.O. BOX 1892
Houston, Texas 77251-1892

Phone: 713-348-4991

Facebook Icon Twitter Icon

GIVE NOW Thank you for your support!