Innovation at the U as another parking lot bites the dust

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Rendering of Lassonde Studios as part of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute.
Rendering of Lassonde Studios as part of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute.
Rendering of Lassonde Studios as part of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute.

Universities have long been a hub for progress.  The Lassonde Studios, a student housing and “innovation hub,” reflects the progress happening at the University of Utah.  While the new housing is unique in its focus on student entrepreneurs, the project also represents another progressive trend at the University: surface parking lots being replaced with dense development.

Rendering of the
Rendering of the “garage,” the ground-floor innovation hub in the Lassonde Studios.

Groundbreaking for the Lassonde Studios occurred last week and the large former student parking lot is fenced off as demolition and site work begins.  The project will be built east of the Carolyn Tanner Irish Humanities Building.

The five-floor building will house 412 residences and a ground-floor “garage”, a 20,000-square-foot open space with moveable furniture to accommodate diverse activities.  The garage will include co-working space, private offices for start-ups, a cafe, lounge space and a prototyping area with 3-D printers, sewing machines, hand tools, laser cutter and more.   The garage will be open to all students and managed by Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, a division of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah named after Pierre Lassonde, an alumni of the University of Utah’s MBA program.

The four floors above the garage will provide three types of housing as well as additional co-working, study and maker space. The living options include:

  • Moveable living pods: Designers invented this type of housing exclusively for the Lassonde Studios. The pods will be 7-by-7 foot, 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 maker space.
  • 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.
  •  Single and double rooms: Students can choose standard rooms for individuals or to share with one other person. Groups of these single and double rooms will share creative space and kitchens.

Under the current master plan, the university plans to develop surface lots and underutilized space on the main campus, making the university more urban with larger buildings that occupy less space helping to create a walkable campus that is both pedestrian and bike friendly.

The university is constructing two parking structures that will compensate for parking lost through the reuse and demolition of surface lots.   The University plans to develop the large parking lot east of the Huntsman Center as part of the second phase of a 1,800-unit student housing development as outlined in the South Campus Housing Master Plan.

The Lassonde Studios building is one of many large projects under construction at the University of Utah.  The George S. Eccles Student Life Center and the new S.J. Quinney College of Law are expected to be completed at the end of 2014 and early 2015 respectively.  Like the Lassonde project, the life center and law building replaced under-used and open space.

Construction of the Lassonde Studios is expected to be completed fall 2016.

Rendering of Lassonde Studios.
Rendering of Lassonde Studios.
The parking lot to be replaced by the Lassonde Studios is highlighted in green.
The parking lot to be replaced by the Lassonde Studios is highlighted in green.
The surface parking lot being demolished to make way for the Lassonde Studios. Photo by Isaac Riddle.
The surface parking lot being demolished to make way for the Lassonde Studios. Photo by Isaac Riddle.
The tag line for the project,
The tagline for the project, “live, create, launch,” covers the fencing of the surface parking lot being demolished to make way for the Lassonde Studios. Photo by Isaac Riddle.

 

 

About Isaac Riddle 522 Articles
Isaac Riddle grew up just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. He has a BA in English literature from the University of Utah and a Masters of Journalism from Temple University. Isaac has written for Next City, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Salt Lake City Weekly. Before embarking on a career in journalism, Isaac taught High School English in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Isaac is the founder of Building Salt Lake and can be reached at isaac@buildingsaltlake.com.