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Prefabricated Bathroom Pods Two new dormitories at Rice University will feature prefabricated bathroom pods when construction is completed later this year. The pods were designed by London-based Hopkins Architects, the lead firm for the McMurtry and Duncan residential colleges. Working with Hopkins is executive architect Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas + Company of Norfolk, Va. The pods were featured in the recent “Home Delivery” exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Delivery of the 178 pods to the Rice campus began in September. Fabricated with a 6x8-foot inner shell composed of glass-reinforced plastic, the pods were transported to the construction site complete with wall-hung plumbing and light fixtures. The units were then hoisted into place by a crane for installation, including final plumbing and electrical connections. The sleek, self-finished inner shell have white walls and a 9-foot ceiling. The two new five-story, 228room residential colleges are scheduled to open for occupancy this fall.

National Museum of the Pacific War The 40,000-sf addition and renovation to the George H.W. Bush Gallery of the National Museum of the Pacific War (formerly known as the Admiral Nimitz Museum) is designed with direct reference to Fredericksburg’s historic fabric and metaphorical reference to the Pacific theater of World War II. Recognizing the importance of the town’s pedestrian experience, Richter Architects of Corpus Christi has oriented the museum store, lobbies, and certain large-scale artifacts toward the sidewalk. A series of one-story stone building facades, linked by courtyards and/or low stone walls, creates a continuous perimeter scaled and detailed to the neighborhood urban district. Inboard from this outer zone, the building design steps up to convey the national significance of the exhibits and the global magnitude of the Pacific War. Exhibits are being designed by the Douglas Group of Houston, in collaboration with consulting historian D. Wilson Dolman. The new addition is scheduled for completion in December.

Texas State University Master Plan Developed by Broaddus & Associates of Austin with Baltimore-based Ayers/Saint/Gross as consultants, the master plan for Texas State University in San Marcos was launched in 2004 to address a projected student enrollment increase of 30,000 and a need for additional academic facilities for 2015 and beyond. A formal green space, a new fine arts and communications center, and a new undergraduate academic center will define the updated face of the university. Construction of the undergraduate academic center, designed by Marmon Mok of San Antonio, begins early this year. The historic Old Main building (1902; Edward Northcraft) will remain the university’s most important symbol. A series of pedestrian paths and a network of green, open spaces will extend the intimate character of the campus. In the master plan’s final phase, a pedestrian-friendly public plaza will seamlessly connect the university’s 457-acre campus to San Marcos’ downtown square, creating a vibrant college-town district.

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Texas Architect Jan/ Feb 2009: Campus Communities