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Campus Development Higher, denser, greener Transforming DTU will challenge Nils Koppel’s stringent plan with denser and taller buildings. Jacob Steen Møller, Director of Facilities, answers questions about the building and landscaping plans. What is the idea behind Transforming DTU? ‘When DTU merged with a number of other national government research institutions in 2007, it was decided to draw up a strategic campus plan. The University wanted to capitalise on the academic synergies offered by the merger. To support this, as many activities as possible were gathered in Lyngby, but it also meant many more workplaces here, necessitating an increase in building density. We looked at the original plan, and at how other universities had tackled the problem. Koppel’s plan is very stringent with its quadrants, the avenue and the very uniform buildings. It certainly creates a sense of unity, but it can also feel a little monotonous. To break this monotony, building density would be increased where there is already a lot happening. At the same time, there was a desire to give each quadrant a greater sense of identity. The new district plan has made it possible to build higher and closer, and in a different architectural style to the original.’ What sort of impact will the changes have? ‘Previously, it was sometimes difficult to see what was what. Now it will be easier to distinguish between the various buildings, so it’s easier to find your way around. The original four quadrants were created for the four engineering disciplines. Now however, DTU offers many different study programmes, far more than the original four reflected in the four quadrants. Building 202, which is taking shape at the moment, will hopefully signal bioengineering, even though it houses various departments. This won’t be done with something as simplistic as signage for example, but by using interior wood cladding to create an organic look. The design of Building 324, home to DTU Compute, is extremely stringent in white and glass, which probably suits IT very well. On the other hand, Building 127 is intentionally very raw, with an exposed supporting structure and installations. You can easily envisage standing around talking about the installation systems and being able to point up at them. This is how we are trying to create a different feel and identity for each building.’ What will it be like walking around a transformed DTU? ‘It’s vital that the new buildings support the sense of coherence. The old buildings sometimes seem like impenetrable walls, so the priority now is to have buildings which open up towards their surroundings to a greater extent. For example, Building 324 has a clear connection to the gardens outside. The doors have been positioned on what would otherwise have been an unbroken stretch of façade. The doors now create a small open square where people can gather as well as a short-cut through the building. In the same way, Building 340 features a walkway through the building from Asmussens Allé. We are also trying to create buildings which overcome the obstacles inherent in the existing structure. This will be particularly evident with the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, Building 220, which will help to define Kemitorvet. It will also be possible to walk through the building, and negotiate the four-metre height difference between one side and the next. All this shows that the building fulfils other roles than what happens inside them, and contributes to the overall campus layout.’ How will the DTU campus develop in future? ‘The gardens at DTU are some of the finest to have been laid since the baroque period. And they are also called the newest baroque gardens, on account of their stringent design. In future, the distinction between the interior and exterior environments will be less defined. Now that the buildings are sited closer together, it is even more important that the intervening spaces are of a high quality. We obviously want to maintain the original landscaping with the trees around DTU. The idea therefore is to refine the green areas the closer you get to the buildings so that they are much more like proper gardens right next to the network centres. And then, of course, you have the edge of the woods which requires very little attention and has a slightly raw look. The intervening areas will be more parklike, there will be courtyard gardens, and then in some places there is greenery right inside the buildings. All the projects here must be aligned with this interpretation of the local landscape.’  By Signe Kierkegaard Cain, journalist 09/2015 Transforming DTU 6


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