University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work

The Graduate College of Social Work at University of Houston is an epicenter of conversations reimagining social, racial, economic, and political justice, both locally and globally. To create collaborative spaces for those conversations, an existing building on campus was renovated and a new lobby pavilion introduced. In the middle of the lobby pavilion stands a large wood table, inviting everyone who enters to join the table, share their experience, and learn from another. The word “welcome” is engraved along the edge of the seating area in the 20 most common languages in Houston to embody the virtue that everyone is welcomed. Enclosed with glass on three sides, the new entry reflects the ideals of transparency for which college alumni advocate. Columns on each side of the pavilion branch out like a tree–the most basic of shelters–evoking a sense of nurture, care, and peace. A large media wall animates the space and informs all visitors of upcoming events and the latest research. In totality, the new entry captures the very virtues that the graduate school espouses.