ibm building two

The second, or ‘New IBM’ building to be built in Salt Lake City began construction in 1981 and is located at 420 E South Temple. The building is one of only several buildings designed in the Brutalist style to be built in Salt Lake. The word brutalism is coined from the French Béton brut which means raw concrete. Many people are quite critical of brutalist buildings, and as a result, many of these buildings have already been torn down. More recently, however, there has been somewhat of a resurgence and greater appreciation for Brutalist design.

The architect for this building was John N Clawson. Drawings were stamped in July of 1981 for the owner, the Boyer Company. Shortly after construction, in 1983, the Boyer Company commissioned an art installation for the center courtyard entitled ‘Lorraine’ by Neil Hadlock which still remains. A Deseret News ad for leasing office space on 6 Nov 1982 states, “New offices, fully furnished, plus receptionist conference room and covered parking.” Another on 12 Feb 1983 identifies the building as the “New IBM Building”. Towards the end of 1989, IBM located an Intermountain Regional office here.

The influence of this building can best be seen in the Wesley Posvar Hall at the University of Pittsburgh. Originally named, Forbes Quadrangle, Posvar Hall was completed three years prior to the IBM building in 1978. The exposed concrete structure and what appear to be post-tensioned concrete waffles on the underside of the floors shows striking similarity between the two buildings. Similarly, the stepping in of floors as you move towards ground level and the use of linear openings of darkened glass also link the two buildings together. This stepping in provides a sun shade for each floor below and would provide energy cost savings by not having direct sunlight glaring on the office windows.


Two images of Posvar Hall at the University of Pittsburgh, which heavily influenced the IBM building. Interestingly, both Posvar Hall and IBM Building share a beautiful yellow sculpted art installation. (Photo source)

One of the current tenants in the building is MHTN Architects who moved into the building in 1998 from the Newhouse building. Several years ago, a tenant remodel of their office space received a LEED Gold certification for a Commercial Interiors project.

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