May 11, 2023

Dear Members of the Rice Design Alliance (RDA) community,

I reach out to you today on behalf of the entire Rice Architecture community—our faculty, students, and staff—to share important updates about the future of RDA as a community engagement program of the School of Architecture.

The Rice Design Alliance is returning to its roots in public programming and outreach, evolving to play a more accessible role within Rice Architecture’s community engagement efforts. Our core programs for next year will focus on RDA’s original mission of design advocacy and the advancement of urban life for all Houstonians. Various committees of faculty and community members will work together to reimagine RDA’s signature legacy programs—the annual Civic Forum, Houston Design Research Grants, and the Spotlight Award. As part of the evolution, the membership model will pivot to an open-access format that no longer requires paid dues.

We want to underscore that this decision is the result of much deliberation and an evaluation process that began as early as 2014 and included internal and external assessments, as well as current and past administrators, faculty, staff, and RDA officers. We came to the collective decision and understanding that a major reimagination of our community engagement efforts was needed.

The timing of this development comes at an opportune and exciting moment for Rice Architecture. Construction is underway on the university’s new William T. Cannady Hall for Architecture, which is slated for a fall 2024 dedication. It will house a new two-story public gallery that will enhance our ability to present mission-centric community programs that are aligned with the university’s priorities and values of community and diversity.

We know that many of you will have questions about what lies ahead, and we invite your thoughts, considerations, and ideas on how to connect the lasting legacy of Rice Design Alliance and Rice Architecture with a bright future that we imagine together. Please visit the FAQ section on our website for more information. If you have further questions, please reach out to Carla Haskins, Director of Inclusion and Strategic Initiatives, at or 713-348-2265.

Thank you again for your many years of support and service. We look forward to sharing a special 40th-anniversary issue of Cite this fall and staying connected in new and exciting ways. 


With gratitude,

Igor Marjanović
William Ward Watkin Dean
Rice Architecture