The University of Utah is creating a new academic building, Lassonde Studios, to encourage students to imagine and start new businesses.
The facility will be managed by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, a division of the university’s David Eccles School of Business. The 160,000-square-foot, U-shaped design, located in the center of campus, features a 20,000-square-foot open, flexible, glazed space where students can test ideas and launch companies. The raw interiors, fitted with concrete floors and exposed ceilings, provide facilities for 5,000 students from 10 disciplines around the school. It contains several “maker” spaces like a wood shop, a tool shop, and 3-D printer areas.
Weathered copper wings contain 400 residences, which range from normal one- to two-bedroom dorms to live/work lofts, to communal spaces for 18 to 20 students with seven-square-foot “living pods,” movable spaces for sleeping and privacy. There are no classrooms in the facility, which is set to open in the fall of next year.
“We’re blurring the boundaries between the living and making environment,” said Yazdani Studio principal Mehrdad Yazdani. “They wanted to do something different, they were open to rethinking the process.