Everything around us is urban in nature. Everything around us is design.

At Rice Design Alliance we develop programs, projects, and publications that look at how cities and people interact through design, connecting the core research and experimental values of the Rice School of Architecture with the larger community of architectural and design practitioners of Houston and the world.

Our programs question our relationship with the built environment and propose an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach that brings practitioners, researchers, 

interested citizens, industry leaders, and public officials together to envision what the most inspiring solutions to urban problems can be.

Our lecture series, design competitions, exhibitions, publications, and grants critically explore the complex urban condition of Houston as a starting point from which to address larger, global challenges that citizens and cities worldwide are facing today.

Civic Forums

Our Civic Forums take place yearly to look at urban and design topics that are of particular relevance to Houston and its region. As such, Civic Forums look to provide an open forum to discuss and analyze timely topics that are affecting Houstonians, but which also have a larger national and international relevance. 

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Our lectures and lecture series engage a wide variety of professionals and thinkers from different fields who are looking at the built environment in innovative and provocative ways.

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Our architecture and design competitions look at a wide range of urban conditions – from micro-urban solutions, charrettes, and interventions, to large-scale infrastructure and urban planning schemes. Whether it’s consulting with public agencies, individuals or communities, we work holistically with multidisciplinary teams to inspire viable visions that can improve our city. 

Three people looking at a plan


Since 1999, Rice Design Alliance has awarded over $100,000 in grants to Houston-based architecture students and faculty from the leading architecture schools of the region, including the Rice School of Architecture, the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design at the University of Houston, the School of Architecture at Prairie View A&M University, and the Department of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at Texas Southern University. 

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Studio Visits

Our Studio Visits Program offers exclusive access to the working spaces of Houston's leading architects, engineers, artists, designers, and makers – a unique opportunity to meet and hear directly from thinkers and practitioners in the design and creative fields.

snap shots of previous awardees

Spotlight Award

Since 2009, Rice Design Alliance supports and recognizes the work of exceptionally gifted national and international architects in the early stages of their professional career through the Spotlight Award. 

Travel and Tours

For over 20 years, Rice Design Alliance has offered a rich architecture and design traveling program, as well as tours of some of Houston’s most interesting architectural examples.