Hanszen College


Houston, Texas

Building Type


Square Footage


Products Supplied

Structural Fasteners & GIGANT

Replacing one of two student dormitory wings, the newly constructed wing for Hanszen Residential College at Rice University is the first of its kind built out of mass timber in Texas. Clocking in at five storeys, it houses 166 beds in both single and double room configurations, along with two advisor suites, a large lobby, and outdoor terraces. The result is an increase in occupancy from the 120 beds in the previous 1957 wing, all while using campus land more efficiently; its smaller footprint means there is more room to expand the college campus later down the line. It is also seeking efficiency in other ways, pursuing a LEED Silver status among other energy efficiency targets.

Designed with intention, this mass timber structure exposes as much of the locally sourced Southern Yellow Pine as possible. From the Glulam beams lining the halls to CLT panels on the floors and ceilings, it is clear why the project was awarded a grant from the US Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service for promoting sustainable mass timber construction on college campuses. This forward-thinking, contemporary design is combined with the university’s classic St. Joe brick façade, resulting in a building that complements and bridges the architectural styles of the nearby Weiss College, built in 2002, and the other historical 1916 Hanszen wing. This pioneering mass timber structure will surely prove to be a fitting part of the university’s academic and cultural landscape moving forward.

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