Laboritas – A University Corporation

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Location: Austin, TX

Type: Institutional, Research

Year: 2015

Justin Kollar

Corporations have historically made alliances with educational institutions, providing financial support through philanthropy as a means of maintaining connections and visibility within a larger community. Today, this link has become even more substantial. Taking advantage of the pool of willing and able students at universities, businesses increasingly provide funds for specific research focuses, locate office branches near or on school campuses, and provide internship opportunities for those following specific paths. In contrast, students themselves simultaneously struggle with overwhelming tuition fees and a job market that favors flexibility for the firm rather than stability for the worker—in other words, innovation over longevity. Adding to this frustrating position, educators and legislators across the country perpetually debate the merits of different curricula and methods, placing the student between the aims of businesses and politicians. So while the line between the college and corporate campus becomes a blurry boundary, it still prohibits direct communication and collaboration across it. The student and worker exist as would-be partners, forever separated by the walls of the ivory tower of academia.

Capitalizing on the potentials of a corporate work and education merger, Laboritas is a for-profit, contract-based learning institution, in which enrolled students focus their efforts around projects initiated by outside businesses. Interweaving vocational and research-based educational models, Laboritas serves as a training ground for a more engaged, experienced, and prepared worker. Here, the physical environment of the corporate campus merges with the traditional college campus. Paired with the key emblems of a university—the statues, stadiums, and quads—a versatile landscape of service cores and layout types dot the campus, providing the necessary infrastructure for project and office flexibility. The benefits of Laboritas act as incentives for development and further investment. The company capitalizes on a more affordable and adaptive workforce and the school gains additional funding to potentially ease the economic burden on its students.