Rice University, Moody Center for the Arts Rice University, Moody Center for the Arts / Houston, Texas, United States

Rice University, Moody Center for the Arts

Applications: Curtains, Interior Design
Attachment: Curtain
“So much of what I was trying to do in this building was to not design a specific stand-alone space, but to make spaces that would feel very connected to each other where you would get a view of something you wouldn’t normally get a view of.”
- Michael Maltzan, Michael Maltzan Architecture
  • Location: Houston, Texas, United States
  • Year Completed: 2017
  • End Use: Academic
  • Architect: Michael Maltzan Architecture, Los Angeles
  • General Contractor: Linbeck Construction, Houston
  • Owner: Rice University


The Moody Center for the Arts opened in 2017 as the new home for creativity on Rice University's Houston campus. Dedicated to interdisciplinary collaboration through the arts, the Moody Center features a Central Gallery that hosts experimental artwork exhibitions and has a sprung wood floor for dance and social events. Working with Michael Maltzan Architecture, Cambridge Architectural wove two custom-designed curtains of metal fabric to provide an open yet protective partition for the Gallery. The curtains help to promote a sense of openness and possibility. Sightlines transact through spaces creating layered views of the myriad activities playing across the Gallery, other exhibition areas and the building's production and instructional spaces.


Cambridge's Mid Balance metal fabric pattern with 50 percent open area was selected to meet the design intent of the architect and affirm the Moody Center's mission to foster connections between artistic disciplines. Because the curtains must also serve as a protective barrier for rotating art exhibitions, engineers at Cambridge designed a system that attaches the flexible metal fabric to hooks at the top and bottom so they can roll smoothly along a track. The mesh is hung sideways so it can pivot at the rods, which allows the curtains to collapse and fold at the push of a button.  When fully extended, they can be locked to enclose the artwork on display.


Cambridge metal mesh curtains create a high degree of visibility within interior landscapes and are an attractive design alternative to enclosing spaces with walls and solid partitions. The Moody Center project team also recognized the additional security and durability offered with the folding metal fabric. 

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Rice University, Moody Center for the Arts | Cambridge Architectural


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