Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute

University of Utah’s Lassonde Institute Breaks Ground on New Live-Learn Concept

by Scott Reid

Salt Lake City — The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, which is an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, has broken ground on a new multi-use building.

Lassonde Studios, opening in fall 2016, will be a five-floor, 148,000-square-foot facility that will merge more than 400 student residences with a 20,000-square-foot “garage,” open for any student to attend events, build prototypes, launch companies and more.

The institute credits the Lassonde Studios project to the vision and support of founder Pierre Lassonde, a successful entrepreneur and MBA alumnus of the David Eccles School of Business. Lassonde donated $13 million to found the Entrepreneur Institute in 2001 and gave an additional $12 million to build the Lassonde Studios and support the activities inside. The remainder of the building costs will be paid for by other donations and rents from those living there. No taxpayer money is being used, the institute says.

Partner companies in this project include EDA Architects, Cannon Design and ARUP. Gramoll Construction is the general contractor. Living options in new design-conscious building will be modular pod, loft or traditional.

Designers invented the moveable “living pods” just for this project, the institute says. The pods will be 7-by-7 feet, private living areas with beds, shelving and storage. The pods will be moveable within a larger, multi-use suite. Each suite will contain bathrooms, a kitchen and community space.

In loft rooms, groups of students will be able to live together in a large, open space where they share creative space and a kitchen. These rooms will provide students with an urban lifestyle in the middle of campus.

Students can also choose to live in standard rooms for individuals or to share with one other person. Groups of these single and double rooms will share creative space and kitchens.

“Everything about this building has been unique and different, even our design process,” says Mehrdad Yazdani, of Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design and the lead designer for the Lassonde Studios. “We started by challenging our assumptions about student housing and exploring the boundaries between where students live and work. The result is an entirely new campus building typology.”

The heart of the Lassonde Studios will be the “garage” on the first floor. It will be a mostly open space with moveable furniture to accommodate a wide range of activities. It will feature co-working space, private offices for startup companies, cafe, lounge space, and a prototyping area with 3D printers, sewing machines, hand tools, laser cutter and more. Any student at the University of Utah will be welcome to use the “garage.” It will function like a student union for entrepreneurs.

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