Published on September 1st, 2013 | by UC&D Magazine


Picturesque Rose House
 Adds to Red Butte’s Allure

In addition to hosting weddings, parties and other social events, building serves as the ‘Green Room’ for concert performers. 

By Brad Fullmer

Architect Mehrdad Samie is something of a music connoisseur, who by his estimation attends upwards of 50 concerts per year. So when the opportunity to design Red Butte Garden’s Rose House project near the University of Utah presented itself, Samie jumped in with both feet.

Located a stone’s throw from the Red Butte amphitheater stage, the Rose House serves as the ‘Green Room’ for musicians to hang out and relax in prior to and after performances, in addition to supporting other events like wedding receptions, parties, classes and such.

“It was an amazing project for me personally,” said Samie, an Associate Principal for Salt Lake-based CRSA who says he has seen well over 100 concerts at Red Butte alone, including six this season. “To be able to go to shows and watch my favorite musicians perform, knowing they are hanging out in the Rose House…it’s very gratifying.”

Samie said when he initially met with Red Butte executives to go over the design of this project, he told Director Greg Lee that as an adolescent he used to hop the fence and sneak into shows for a couple of years before ultimately becoming a paying customer.

“I know and love this facility – I had a personal, vested interest in this project,” said Samie. “It is one of my all-time favorite concert venues, and the Rose House definitely adds to the whole Red Butte ambiance.”

The 4,100 SF, $1.2 million project is located in one of the most picturesque settings in the garden and was designed with copious amounts of glass to help keep patrons connected to the outside. The 1,800 SF reception space symbolizes an elegant glass jewel box during the day, and a fiery lantern at night. The thin, uplifting roof is a representation of a rose petal. A 35-foot wide, all glass folding door at the northeast (called a NanaWall) separates the reception area from a semi-covered outdoor plaza which provides an opportunity to double the number of patrons for events. The NanaWall allows users to have that entire section open, so events can seamlessly spill outside onto the patio.

“The inside-outside relationship was extremely important,” said Samie. “We also used copper on the roof to tie into the stage, and also compliment the use of copper on the Utah Museum of Natural History. It’s a material that ages over time and is very fitting for this project.”

Besides the main reception area, the Rose House includes support spaces such as a kitchen/catering area, restrooms, and a shower/changing room area for band crew members.

“It’s been great, especially for the (musicians) who have been here before,” said Derrek Hanson, Director of Events and Visitor Services. “We previously had to put up a commercial tent, now we have a beautiful permanent facility with restrooms and dressing rooms – it’s a huge upgrade. (Performers) knew what they were used to getting versus what they’re getting now and they just love it. We’re able to host somebody like a Tony Bennett now, whereas we might not even have invited him in the past. We’re able to bring in higher-end talent.”


Red Butte Garden Rose House
Cost: $1.2 Million
Owner: University of Utah/
 Red Butte Garden
Architect: CRSA
GC: CK Construction
Engineering Team
Civil Engineering: Meridian Engineering
Electrical: Envision Engineering
Mechanical: Colvin Engineers
Structural: Dunn Associates

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