Rice University Research Laboratory Master Plan

Research Laboratory Master Plan

Rice University

Houston, Texas

330,000 gsf


As part of its strategic vision to significantly increase research activity on campus, Rice University engaged Ellenzweig to complete a comprehensive review of all research laboratory facilities assigned to the College of Engineering and the College of Natural Sciences.  The University’s priority is to increase collaboration among research faculty, staff, and students, as well as to provide state-of-the-art facilities that support the strategic vision.


Ellenzweig worked closely with University representatives in completing a comprehensive study of research spaces totaling 330,000 net square feet in 16 buildings across campus.  The study examined current research labs, including condition and utilization of assigned space, availability of underutilized and unused space, and demand for various types of labs.  The study evaluated synergies and defined capabilities of the research spaces.


The scope of Ellenzweig’s services included documenting faculty, staff, and stakeholder perspectives on research labs at Rice; comparing common practices in laboratory design at other universities with existing lab spaces at Rice; identifying shortcomings of  existing labs and outlining methods to upgrade or repurpose existing labs to satisfy current and future lab needs; identifying requirements for access to shared equipment and support shops; understanding and documenting existing lab utilization, including condition and people and equipment saturation to better understand effective use of existing lab spaces and equipment cores; development of lab planning modules for all disciplines involved; identifying options for upgrading research labs through renovation and new construction; development of specific floor plan options for renovations of specific buildings; analysis of incremental renovation versus larger-scale renovation; and development of a phasing plan for research lab improvements, with associated costs.