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About RDA

Rice Design Alliance was established within the Rice School of Architecture in 1972 to develop the School’s outreach and public programs.

About Rda Main2

Rice Architecture, Anderson Hall. View of Smith Courtyard with bench design by Charles Renfro

Rice Design Alliance was established within the Rice School of Architecture in 1972 to develop the School’s outreach and public programs. Its mission is to facilitate an understanding of how design influences the built and natural environment through multidisciplinary public programs and projects that empower academics, architects, engineers, design professionals, and the broader Houston community in an effort to transform our city into a better place to live and a global model for the twenty first century.

We curate lecture series, design competitions, exhibitions, publications, and worldwide architecture trips that bring people together to critically explore the urban condition in Houston and beyond, raising awareness and inspiring solutions to the challenges that citizens and cities worldwide are facing today.

Rice Design Alliance also provides grants and awards to students, established practitioners, and emerging professionals to actively support their work and help launch inspiring research and projects.

Our History

Rice Design Alliance was founded in 1972 under the leadership of David Crane, Dean of the Rice School of Architecture, to match critical research and practice with civic advocacy and consciousness-raising. The organization developed a broad membership from its earliest days including many non-architects as well as students, faculty, and alumni from several schools.  

Rice Design Alliance has published over 100 print issues of Cite magazine since 1982 as well as in-depth online articles for OffCite, its digital iteration, since 2008.

Rice Architecture

Rice Design Alliance was established within the Rice School of Architecture in 1972 to develop the School’s outreach and public programs.

Rice Design Alliance works closely with the students and faculty of Rice Architecture to bring architectural and design thinking outside the walls of the school and the Rice campus, and into the fabric of Houston. Through our programs and projects, we work with practitioners, citizens, and public officials with an interest in improving the urban realm and critically addressing the needs of Houston as a global city.

Visit Rice Architecture



Maria Nicanor

Executive Director


Ashley Tagle

Associate Director of Development


Noelle Heinze

Associate Director of Marketing and Communications


Raquel Puccio

Administrative Coordinator



Steve Mechler

Doug Childers

Andrew Albers

Mark Lund

Heather Rowell

Juliè A. Gauthier
Past President

Saied Alavi
Vice President Operations, Marek Brothers Systems

Ernesto Alfaro, APA
Senior Associate, SLA Studio Land

Barbara Amelio

Kevin Batchelor
Senior Managing Director, Hines

Jack Bellows
President, W.S. Bellows

Deborah Brochstein
CEO, Brochstein Inc.

Larry Burns
Principal, Kendall Heaton

John Casbarian
Interim Dean, Rice Architecture

Sean Cowan
Hai Hospitality

Stephen Fox
Fellow of the Anchorage Foundation of Texas

Chuck Gremillion
Executive Director, Construction Career Collaborative

Kelly Hall
Chief Executive Officer, Harvey Builders

John Hawkins
Partner, Porter Hedges LLP

Daimian Hines
Principal, Hines Architecture + Design

Ben Johanneman
Vice President, Client Executive, The Linbeck Group

Lawrence F. Lander
Principal, Planning Design Research Corporation

Brandie Lockett
LEED AP-ND, Urban Designer, Houston METRO

Richard Morris
President/CEO, m Strategic Partners, Inc.

Judy Nyquist
Civic Arts Activist

Jenny Philip
Vice President, Public Policy at Greater Houston Partnership

Steve Radom
Managing Principal, Radom Capital

Kansas Sartin
LEED AP BD+C, Executive Vice President, McCoy-Rockford Inc.

Troy Schaum
NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, Assistant Professor of Architecture, Rice University

Kyle Shelton
Director of Strategic Partnerships, Kinder Institute for Urban Research

Irene Shum
Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, The Menil Collection

Justin Smith
Structural Engineer, Walter P Moore

Meredith Stuart
LEED AP, IIDA, Director of A&D Marketing, CRG Office

Florence Tang
Project Manager, Design + Engineering, Houston Zoo

Richard A. Vella
Assistant Director / Chief of Design & Construction Division, City of Houston General Service Department

Joseph Wilfong
AIA, NCARB, Senior Associate, Perkins+Wills

Emily Winters
AIA, LEED GA, NCARB, Senior Associate, Kirksey

Ellyn Wulfe
J.D., Civic and Culture Leader, Senior Associate, Gensler


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.

Our programs, projects, and publications connect 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 approach that critically explores 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.



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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Civic Forum

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.

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Rda Competitions


Our architecture and design competitions look at a wide range of urban conditions – from micro-urban solutions, charrettes, interventions and buildings, to large-scale infrastructure and urban planning schemes.

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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.

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Travel and Tours

For over 20 years, Rice Design Alliance has offered a rich architecture and design traveling program, as well as hard hat visits to spaces under construction and tours of some of Houston’s most interesting homes.

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Spotlight V2

Spotlight Award

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.

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K 12


Since 2016, Rice Design Alliance has partnered with Rice Architecture’s Recess program, an initiative that is designed to share the talent and energy of the students at Rice Architecture with schools and educational organizations throughout Houston.

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Young Professionals

Young Professionals

Rice Design Alliance’s Young Professionals is a dynamic group of practitioners in the design, architecture, and engineering fields who have an interest in improving and pushing the limits of design culture in Houston.

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Past Programs

News Sharing

Lecture Series

Fall Lecture Series 2018


Oct. 10 – 29

7:00 p.m.
The Fall Lecture Series 2018 was organized in collaboration with PLAT Journal and Rice Architecture.

John Alschuler 3

Lecture Series

John Alshuler

Innovation Lands in Urbanism: What's Next?

PLAT and Rice Design Alliance Lecture Series: Sharing

Oct. 29

7:00 p.m.
Farish Gallery, Anderson Hall
Rice Architecture

Self Alt

Lecture Series

Jack Self

Attitude as Form

PLAT and Rice Design Alliance Lecture Series: Sharing

Oct. 22

7:00 p.m.
3400 Main Street


Lecture Series

Peggy Deamer

Lobbying for Architecture

PLAT and Rice Design Alliance Lecture Series: Sharing

Oct. 10

7:00 p.m.
3400 Main Street

Whats The Plan

Civic Forum

Civic Forum 2018

What’s the Plan?

Apr. 25

6:00 p.m.
Anderson Clarke Center
Hudspeth Auditorium
Rice University Campus


Rice Design Alliance produces a series of independent printed and online publications. At its core is Cite: The Architecture + Design Review of Houston, which has been in circulation since 1982, with 101 printed issues of the magazine to date. OffCite has been the digital platform of Cite since 2008. In addition to Cite and OffCite, Rice Design Alliance publishes independent editorial projects in collaboration with other cultural and educational organizations from across the globe.


Rice Design Alliance has published Cite: The Architecture + Design Review of Houston since 1982. True to Rice Design Alliance’s own roots, Cite has long mixed an appreciation of high design with a shot of down and dirty civic engagement. The cover of the first issue, published in 1982, was graced by the image of a sewer manhole. “Trading Toilets: The Subterranean Zoning of Houston” shared the feature with a review of the Renzo Piano’s design for the Menil Collection alongside an interview with Cesar Pelli.

Rice Design Alliance is currently undergoing a long-term digitizing project to archive all past issues of Cite in an effort to make the entirety of its content openly accessible online.

Cite has printed 101 issues to date.

Cite 102 Be Here is coming out on December 2018.

Cite Archives

Subscribe to Cite


OffCite is the digital platform of Cite. Since 2008, OffCite has featured the authoritative and thoughtful voices found in the print magazine while seeking to bring additional writers and readers into the discussion. OffCite is supported in part by a grant from the Susan Vaughan Foundation.

Visit the temporary home of OffCite


Cover of Cite 7, Fall 1984


In addition to our core mission to generate content through programs, research, and projects, our events have served as a convening point for the architecture, design, and engineering community of Houston for over 40 years. From happy hours to networking gatherings and professional workshops, our members get together often to share their work in fun and unconventional ways and learn from one another’s experiences in the field.

Gala 2019

Rice Design Alliance’s annual Gala is the design event of the season, celebrating the leading voices and business leaders in the architecture, engineering, construction, and design fields in Houston.

Join us, Saturday, November 9, 2019, at Silver Street Studios, for an interesting and fun evening with fabulous food, entertainment, and design. 

This year’s Gala is chaired by Deborah Brochstein and Steven Hecht and honors the Tellepsen family for their longstanding commitment to civic leadership and improvement of the urban landscape for over 100 years.

For more information or to purchase tables and tickets, please contact Ashley Tagle, Associate Director of Development, or at 713.348.5670


Rice Design Alliance is funded through the generous contributions of its members and supporters.


Membership is one of the main sources of funding for the Rice Design Alliance. Our members – from the Individual to the Underwriter – provide crucial support for our programs, projects, and publications. As a member of Rice Design Alliance, you will receive Cite magazine, invitations to all programs, and discounts for our events.

For more information on membership levels and benefits, please contact us at:

Rice Design Alliance

Become an RDA Member


From left to right: Linda Sylvan, Judy Nyquist, Sarah Whiting, Kristi Gollwitzer and Catherine Callaway


Rice Design Alliance

Rice Design Alliance - MS 51
Rice School of Architecture
Rice University
PO Box 1892
Houston, TX 77251-1892