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Computational Engineering Building (Duncan Hall) Construction records

Identifier: UA 0366
Finding aid note: Stored off-site at the Library Service Center. Please request this material via or call 713-348-2586.

Scope and Contents

The Computational Engineering Building Construction records are comprised of the records, drawings, manuals, correspondence, and samples generated during the planning and construction of Duncan Hall between 1992 and 1996. Submittals of plans and material samples from contractors comprises the largest portion of the collection. These records include transmittals and other correspondence. The second large portion is the project manager's alphabetical files, which includes correspondence with contractors and the university, photographs, and some drawings. The collection also contains a large selection of civil, architectural, structural, and mechanical/electric drawings and schematics. Smaller portions include the building manuals, meeting minutes and schedules.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1992 - 1996
  • Creation: 1981 - 2002


Conditions Governing Access

Stored off-site at the Library Service Center. Please request this material via or call 713-348-2586.

Conditions Governing Use

This material is open for research. Permission to publish from this material must be facilitated through the Woodson Research Center.

Biographical / Historical

The Rice Board of Governors approved the construction of Duncan Hall in 1993. Ken Kennedy, the director of the Center for Research on Parallel Computation, a consortium headquartered at Rice, said, “Computational Engineering is vital to the future of Rice and the nation.” The building was designed to be a state-of-the-art facility for computation engineering. The goal was to bring together several related fields in Computational Engineering and foster collaboration between them. Rice received submissions from hundreds of firms, but ultimately selected British architect John Outram. Outram’s design and approach were unorthodox and exciting but also stirred some controversy. He imbued his design elements with a rich if esoteric symbology and meaning. Outram wrote extensively about the philosophy and symbolism behind the building’s elaborate and colorful design, and his essays can be found be found on his website. The budget for the project was set at $16.5 million. The Groundbreaking Ceremony was held on November 4th, 1994, and featured an exhibition of robots built by grade school students. Construction was completed late in 1996 and the building opened on November 4th. The building is named after Anne and Charles Duncan, Jr. Charles was a former chairman of the University’s Board. Duncan Hall is currently a flagship building for the George R. Brown School of Engineering, and houses the departments of Computational and Applied Mathematics (CAAM), Computer Science (COMP), Statistics (STAT), part of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), the Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology, and the offices of the Dean of Engineering.

For more information, visit Dr. Keith Cooper’s Unofficial Duncan Hall Website, the Computer Science Department’s facilities web page, and the website of John Outram and Associates


20 Linear Feet (23 boxes plus 6 drawers)

Language of Materials



The Computational Engineering Building (Duncan Hall) Construction records is comprised of submittals, project manager files, material samples, specifications, and drawings from the planning and construction of Duncan Hall. Duncan Hall is the home of several math, science, and engineering departments at Rice University, including the George R. Brown school of Engineering, Computational and Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, and Statistics. The building was designed by British architect John Outram and constructed between 1994 and 1996.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from Duncan Hall, summer of 2015, by Dr. Keith D. Cooper, faculty representative of the Duncan Hall design team.

Guide to the Computational Engineering Building (Duncan Hall) Construction records, 1981-2002
Jeff Warner
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas Repository

Fondren Library MS-44, Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston Texas 77005 USA