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Bold Design Education Environment at Lassonde Studios

Nov. 1, 2019

Lassonde Studios provides a space for University of Utah students to live and explore entrepreneurship and innovation. Learn more about this project.

This selected case study by CannonDesign for Lassonde Studios at the University of Utah was chosen as a featured project for the ASID Impact of Design Series. These selected projects use evidence-based design to improve the quality of the human experience in the built environment and demonstrate the impact of pre- and post-occupancy research. 

Located in Salt Lake City, the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah provides opportunities for thousands of students, from any academic background or major, to explore entrepreneurship and innovation.

Programs include workshops, networking events, business competitions, startup support, graduate seminars, scholarships and more.

Photo: Lassonde Studios provides a space for University of Utah students to live and explore entrepreneurship and innovation. Demand to live in Lassonde Studios far exceeds space, and the number of student-led startups is increasing. Images courtesy of ASID.

This breakthrough program required an equally innovative environment—and the Institute embarked on a collaborative research process, involving university leadership, students, business school representatives and others, to fully embrace the entrepreneurial spirit of Lassonde Studios, which includes housing for these students.

Upon completing its research in June 2013, the Lassonde Institute collaborated with global design firm CannonDesign, and a local architectural firm, EDA Architects, to create a new type of learning facility. 

Five design solutions included: 

1. A new building typology with an innovative hangar space on the first floor open to the university.

2. Four secure student residence floors above to explore the boundaries between where students live and work.

3. A flexible grid system exemplifying an entrepreneurial spirit by allowing students to reconfigure rooms and spaces for their needs.

4. Natural and local materials (including exterior copper cladding), inspired by the Wasatch Front Mountains, that helps create a shared sense of pride and a campus icon.

5. Mechanical ventilation with CO2 sensors and outdoor airflow measurement devices installed to detect when conditions vary by 10% or more.

These seven design solutions and Lassonde’s research-driven approach drove major design impact:

1. Student participation jumped from 2,000 to 7,800 in the first year the building opened.

2. Demand to live in Lassonde Studios far exceeds space (more than 1,400 students applied the first year for the 400 available rooms). Resident beds are full and meeting Lassonde Studios tuition goals.

3. Lassonde Studios has helped the university quintuple the number of student-led startups in two years, from 92 to 504.

4. The project minimized construction waste and utilized recycled content in 21.2% of the building materials.

5. Design efforts achieved a 48% energy cost savings off LEED baseline performance targets.

6. The building optimizes energy performance using LED for 100% of the lighting.

7. The project has helped elevate the University of Utah in national rankings.

The University of Utah’s Lassonde Studios emphasizes how design research creates quantifiable impact and significantly benefits student experience.

From flexible areas allowing students to customize the space for their needs, to energy-efficient materials and innovative design, Lassonde Studios promotes a bold new vision for education and supplies students with the tools necessary to become the entrepreneurs of the future. 

Learn more about the ASID Impact of Design Series.

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