Gift to UH College of Architecture to Bolster International Initiatives

Gerald D. Hines recently visited his namesake college. From left, Dean Patricia Oliver, Hines, Barbara Hines and professor Peter Zweig

Houstonians have come to expect bold ideas from students at the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture. Based at the University of Houston, the college grooms future generations of designers and architectural innovators. It also generates new visions for urban and industrial landscapes.

In recent years, audiences from around the globe have experienced the talents of the college’s faculty and students. Thanks to its namesake, the College’s international profile will continue to expand.

Houston real estate visionary Gerald D. Hines and his wife Barbara recently pledged $1 million to the college in support of its international initiatives.

This generous contribution was inspired after Gerald D. Hines traveled to Italy in 2014 to observe an exhibition of UH students’ works at the Venice Biennale. Alongside UH President Renu Khator and UH College of Architecture Dean Patricia Belton Oliver, Hines attended the UH exhibition “Risky Habit[at].” He also met with some of the students who contributed projects to the exhibition, which details new visions for Houston – particularly areas along its adjacent waterways. The exhibition earned the Global Arts Affairs Foundation Prize and recently made its Houston debut. It will remain on view in the college’s gallery throughout the summer.

The presentation of “Risky Habit[at]” at the 2014 Venice Biennale is among several of the college’s international projects. Previous ventures have taken students to Spain and Argentina (as part of the Pan American Studio) and other cities in Italy. During these trips, students observe each region’s architectural trends and apply what they’ve learned to Houston-themed projects. Another international endeavor was the Three Continents Studio, which partnered the college with institutions from Argentina, the Netherlands and Louisiana. This project explored problems faced by coastal communities and possible solutions. The works in “Risky Habit[at] were developed as part of this studio and guided by professors Peter Jay Zweig and Thomas Colbert.

Hines has an eye for recognizing star architects. As the founder and chairman of Hines, he has worked with the world’s top talents in creating iconic projects in Houston and around the world.  Among those who have worked with Hines are Philip Johnson (designer of the building housing UH’s College of Architecture), Cesar Pelli, Frank Gehry, I.M. Pei and others.

 “For nearly 60 years, working with the best architects in the world has significantly contributed to our success at Hines,” Hines said.  “My family and I hope this gift will allow the University of Houston to continue its tradition of producing fine architects whose work will shape the built environment for the years to come.”

“It is a fantastic moment when we can experience the transformation of a student realizing that the work they are doing places them shoulder to shoulder with the best architects in the world,” said Oliver. “The exhibition at the Venice Biennale was such a moment. The Hines' gift will allow us to continue to ensure that many more students will have that transformative experience on the global stage.”

To honor Gerald Hines’ legacy of quality architecture, the Hines firm donated $7 million to UH in 1997 to endow the College of Architecture.

In addition to its overseas initiatives, the college’s international profile has been strengthened through its Industrial Design program, which is ranked No. 14 globally according to the Red Dot Design Ranking.

Just as the college’s international reputation is on the rise so is its local profile. Through the efforts of its Graduate Design/Build Studio and the Community Design Resource Center, the college is generating projects that enhance the city.

The college offers bachelor’s and master’s in a variety of disciplines including architecture, interior architecture and industrial design. Faculty members include esteemed professionals in the architectural community, as well as award-winning academic veterans. Facilities include studio spaces, the new Materials Research Collaborative, computer labs and the Burdette Keeland Jr. Design Exploration Center. To learn more about the college, visit