The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and the David Eccles School of Business broke ground October 10 for an innovative new building for student entrepreneurs. Students are expected to move in by fall semester 2016.
The $45 million Lassonde Studios will be named for Pierre Lassonde, who made a generous gift of $12 million toward the facility. Lassonde attended the U in 1971 to pursue a master’s degree in business administration while his late wife Claudette MacKay-Lassonde studied nuclear engineering. Today, the Canadian native is one of the most prominent gold investors in the world and is a generous donor to the U and the David Eccles School of Business.
Located near the David Eccles School of Business, the 148,000 square-foot facility is modeled after startup spaces in San Francisco and New York that are designed to promote a culture of innovation. Architects for the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute looked at these buildings and added elements of living and learning to create a new concept for “entrepreneur studios.” No building in the country has the same mix of space for students to live like an entrepreneur and learn what it takes to be an innovator.
The exterior design of the building will reflect the slopes and angles of the canyons along the Wasatch Front. The inside of the building, which will house more than 400 unique student residences, will feature a flexible grid structure, so rooms and spaces can be reconfigured as needs and trends change.
In the 20,000 square foot “garage” space on the main floor, students will have 24-hour access to tools—3-D printers, co-work space, and prototyping tools— to foster fresh ways of thinking and innovative ideas that can be created, literally, at 2:00 a.m. The multi-use space will have few walls and moveable furniture. All students on campus will be welcome in the garage.
“What an opportunity for the future students at the U,” writes one former student. “I’m excited to see what technology, patents, and startups stem out of this facility. I only wish I could have been part of it.”
“This building is the realization of Pierre Lassonde’s visionary approach to student innovation and entrepreneurism,” says U president David W. Pershing. “His enormous generosity and this unique building will make the University of Utah the best place in the country to be a student entrepreneur.”
The design team includes EDA Architects, Salt Lake City; Cannon Design, Los Angeles; and ARUP, San Francisco and New York.