Lassonde Studios Named One of World’s Best New University Buildings


By Mackenzie McDermott

Architectural Digest named the University of Utah’s Lassonde Studios one of the “World’s Best New University Buildings.” Only eight other buildings worldwide joined Lassonde on the list.

The $45 million home to Lassonde Institute and its student entrepreneurs was drawn up by Yazdani Studio of Cannon Designs in association with EDA Architects. It has been recognized around the globe by publications such as The New York Times, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, The Associated Press and ArchDaily. The building also recently won the SXSWedu Learn X Design award.

Lassonde’s gleaming copper finish is easy to spot from across campus.

“I love the architecture, especially the copper facade,” said Lassonde resident Andrew Baldridge. “It’s going to look even cooler in twenty years when it rusts out and looks like the Statue of Liberty.”

Besides its material, the building has other unique traits that passersby recognize.

“The form of the building itself is not just a plain rectangle,” said Robert Young, a Professor of Architecture at the U. “There is some curvilinearity to it that allows for different angles and for the sun to hit it in different ways.”

Young pointed out the use of natural light in the building to create a better environment for students.

“There is an excitement,” said Young, “a livable quality, that people don’t realize is there until they stop and think about it and look around”

The interior of Lassonde is split into four levels. Each level has a different theme — digital media; adventure and gear; products, design and art; and sustainability and global impact. The floor plan was designed to create an atmosphere that inspires residents and those who visit.

“Even the structure of the building — the physical structure — is designed to force people to bump into each other, to meet in the communal area to get to know each other, to talk, and to really interact,” said Lassonde resident Logan Erickson.

Baldridge said that in beginning, the building was not without problems. The first few weeks the hot water would often go out. Many residents were frustrated because construction continued after they had moved in.

At the end of the day, students feel the true beauty of the building is not the four different themed levels, the industrial design, or the copper facade. It is the people who live there and the community that Lassonde Studios creates.

“People who have passion push other people with passion,” Erickson said. “Then we all together can really push each other to be the best version of ourselves and create the best end goal and product.”

Students are drawn to Lassonde not only for what the building has to offer but also for the opportunity to collaborate with other students who are dedicated to developing their own companies.

“I loved the idea that everyone is here to sell their idea and to really actually do work,” said Lassonde resident Kai Taylor.

The world renowned Lassonde Studio’s motto is “Live. Create. Launch.” The institute strives to instill a community that stays true to that.

“That is the true heart of Lassonde,” Erickson said. “We’re all helping each other, we’re all working together, we’re collaborating to be able to change the world.”

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