The Gully

Mass Timber Pavilion at Rice University

Located within Rice University Campus, Harris Gully Natural Area is a restored watershed that consists of several microhabitats, from open prairie to open woodland to dense shrubland. Because of Harris Gully, Rice is one of the most biodiverse universities in the country with the highest bird species list of any campus in North America. The pavilion, an observation deck immersed within the landscape, represents the first step in creating an outdoor museum of the environment, an effort to assert the value of preserving sustainable ecosystems in an urban environment. Made of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) sourced from local forests, the pavilion is a carbon-negative structure and an essay on the possibilities of this new sustainable construction technology. The project is funded by a federal grant from the US Forest Service, the School of Natural Sciences and local philanthropy. 

The design was developed at Vassallo’s wood construction seminar by graduate students Pouya Khadem and Lene Sollie.

© Jesús Vassallo, 2020