University of Utah


S.J. Quinney College of Law

Salt Lake City, Utah

155,000 gsf, 14,400 m2

Architecture, Interior Architecture

Award of Excellence - Institutional Architecture, Institutional Architecture Award, Design Awards

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This new, sustainable home for the S.J. Quinney College of Law is the embodiment of the exceptional and innovative education that will be offered within its walls. It will facilitate additional programs while providing an impressive gateway to the campus.

—David W. Pershing, President, University of Utah


A top-tier law school known for its strong tradition of community service, the University of Utah’s College of Law needed to update its aging facilities. The university identified a prominent site at the southwestern corner of campus, and set high expectations for its long-awaited new law building. SmithGroupJJR, in association with Salt Lake City-based VCBO Architects, designed a student-centric environment that would inspire collaboration between students and faculty as well as facilitate community-engaged applied learning.

Rather than the more typical law school layout that compartmentalizes functions, the S.J. Quinney College of Law provides a variety of settings for collaborative study and research. The new facility boasts advanced instructional facilities including a variety of classrooms, skills development spaces, and a large auditorium and events room that opens to a rooftop terrace. Additionally, the design creates a much-needed, accessible campus path via a series of gardens and ramps.

Conservation of resources and a desire to inspire responsible practices were among top goals for this project. Energy-efficient features incorporated in the design include solar generators that also function as shading devices, a system that utilizes site well-water for building cooling, and a chilled-beam system that is expected to cut heating and cooling costs in half. The project is on track to become the University’s first LEED Platinum certified facility.