Learning by Design

by Sheila Kim

At The University of Utah, the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute has been supporting students with startup aspirations by providing grants, advisors, and the ability to realize ideas into prototypes at no cost. But when the institute celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2012, its administration wanted to take the program to the next level. It became evident that in order to do this, Lassonde needed a physical home base that would unify its participants—who hailed from different majors ranging from business to fine arts—under one roof to spur their productivity. As this called for more than a conventional academic building or residence hall, the program and campus housing staffs embarked on a collaboration with CannonDesign and its Yazdani Studio on what would become their own prototype of sorts.

“We had to invent a new typology that, to the best of my knowledge, didn’t exist on other campuses,” says Mehrdad Yazdani, director of the Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign and design principal who led the project. The team concluded that creativity and innovation could flourish in an environment that blurred the lines of “where I sleep, where I make, and where I meet,” Yazdani says. Thus, the five-story Lassonde Studios—a combination school dormitory and startup incubator—was born.

Read the full article at contractdesign.com