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“We’ve been inspired by MIT” DTU’s campus development has been inspired by MIT in the USA, Aalto University in Helsinki and ETH in Zurich. And with Transforming DTU, we are also creating a campus which, to an even greater extent than previously, puts DTU on the world map. ‘We have looked far and wide to see how other universities around the world have developed their campuses. Aalto University in Helsinki makes a huge impression with initiatives such as its Startup Sauna and Design Factory, which have inspired the Skylab here at DTU. In addition, the Helsinki campus is vibrant and an example of an important architectural heritage, which is also a focus area here,’ says Ole Kristian Bottheim, Head of Real Estate at Campus Service at DTU. Both ETH Zurich’s laboratory design and overall master plan have been studied closely, while many other places have provided inspiration on how to incorporate the business community into campus life: ‘At MIT, they go out of their way to attract research-based business, something which they also do successfully at the new out-of-town campus in Utrecht. There you suddenly come to a building where it says that Danone is constructing a new research centre. It is extremely inspiring, because DTU also wants to be as business-friendly. We want to be the MIT of Europe,’ says Ole Kristian Bottheim. Inspiration has also been sought worldwide on how to bring researchers closer together. ‘Wanting researchers to meet to a far greater extent than before is an international trend, and it’s something we have seen at MIT and Harvard, for example. Around the world, the idea of bringing researchers together in shared offices is also about saving space and being more sustainable. To achieve this, people have to sit closer together,’ says Ole Kristian Bottheim. At DTU, it reinforces interdisciplinary collaboration, for example in the Life Science project, which brings together DTU Aqua, DTU Food and DTU Vet. Out of the theatre Another international trend is that considerable didactic and pedagogical experimentation is taking place with new types of learning facilities. Where the classic auditoriums were like theatres, today more flexible rooms are required where there is space for teaching and group work and the possibility of far more studentlecturer interaction. At DTU, many auditoriums have already been rebuilt, and a study has shown that the auditoriums have gone from being used 43 per cent of the time to 82 per cent after the refurbishment.‘The students enjoy being there—also in the evenings and at weekends when they don’t have any teaching. We have also completely rebuilt the library and created a studyenvironment there, and we now have students asking whether it can remain open 24/7,’ says Ole Kristian Bottheim, and explains: ‘When developing a campus, it’s necessary to take account of the learning environments, research environments and the combination of administrative offices and laboratories. However, the social environment also plays a vital role. The students spend some of the most important years of their lives here, where they develop a lot and perhaps make life-long friends. The informal meeting venues are therefore central to campus life.’ Attract international researchers In many ways, DTU is a very classic campus. Like many other campuses around the world, it was built in the 1960s, because universities had outgrown their central city locations. However, what makes DTU unique is that it was all built within such a short space of time—from 1960 to 1974. In a Danish context, the fact that DTU is a self-governing institution is also rather special. The University has its own building function, and is thus able to plan campus developments itself. ‘Working among the students, researchers and other employees means we have a good sense of what is required,’ says Ole Kristian Bottheim. One of the big challenges with Transforming DTU is building laboratories with higher classifications so that research can be conducted at a higher level. Many researchers are still working in labs from 1960, and these facilities now need to be brought up to date. Big changes are afoot, especially for the professors who used to have their own large offices situated conveniently close to their labs, and who could just pop from one to the other. ‘Many of the original yellow-brick DTU buildings are now being converted into offices, while new laboratories will be housed in the new buildings—in several cases the buildings are almost machines in themselves. Separating offices and laboratories like this is an international trend; some universities have also created workspaces inside the laboratories. At Novo Nordisk, they refer to such labs as ‘activity-based laboratories’, and they can also help minimize the floorspace required. We really want to put DTU on the world map, and the new labs will allow us to conduct research in completely new fields. Obviously, our hope is that this in turn will encourage even more international researchers to come here,’ says Ole Kristian Bottheim. Transforming people too He explains that both students and staff at DTU are very focused on finding solutions and playing a proactive role in Transforming DTU. ‘These are people who are very committed to what they do, and also very bright. It is challenging and very stimulating work. Our starting point is always the existing campus, and in fact there is a considerable degree of freedom within this framework,’ says Ole Kristian Bottheim. Transforming DTU will, among other things, see the 1.8 km long campus brought down to a more human scale in terms of both the architecture and the landscaping, says Ole Kristian Bottheim: ‘Just moving a door can be a big change, and in building brand new facilities and doing such extensive renovation, we can really make a difference. Right now everything is very temporary—it’s one big construction project, with big changes everywhere. It is a unique opportunity to change much more than the just the buildings. The occupants are also changing, so this transformation of DTU is happening at many different levels. Our learning comes from all over the world, says Ole Kristian Bottheim, Head of Real Estate. By Signe Kierkegaard Cain, journalist Campus Development 09/2015 Transforming DTU 9


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