Campus 19/9-13 10:10

Praising the naked emperor: Copenhagen's KUA2 official opening

Praising the naked emperor: KUA2 official opening
Just inside the main entrance, beside the circular information desk, is a spacious lounge area. A small kantine can be seen in the back, as well as a tranquil water fountain in between the wooden benches.
With promises of an enhanced learning environment and a stronger international brand for University of Copenhagen, the new humanities campus on Amager, KUA2, officially opens later today and completes the Faculty of Humanities. But can it deliver?

Long a cross-campus dilemma, the 2 new humanities campuses in Copenhagen, KUA1 and KUA2, now stand united under a similar marble-clad exterior, housing all humanities students.

When KUA1 was opened in 2001, the Faculty of Humanities found itself a campus logistically and administratively divided. Some courses of study were secluded in KUA1 for classes exclusively, while Old KUA, built in the late 70s, remained the outdated and somewhat detached heart of the campus.

The construction was an entrepreneurial endeavor, whose completion took an extra five months more than estimated, and when KUA2 first opened its doors, students and staff were met by files, library books and office supplies still packed away, with noise contamination to top it all off.

Students do not agree with management

The overall experience of KUA1 has not impressed students. A highly faulty wireless internet connection, at times entirely non-existent, alongside a lack of power outlets in all classrooms did not meet the expectations for another campus addition. Students are pleased to find sufficient numbers of power outlets in KUA2.

When asked how the soon-to-be-inaugurated premises will enhance the academic quality of the University of Copenhagen, Ulf Hedetoft, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, says that "it clearly gives the faculty far better conditions for creating a vibrant, modern and appealing study and research environment."

However, the opinion is quite different once the question is directed towards students. Signe Søborg, an 11th semester Latin student says that "KUA2 is in no way better than the old buildings. Students have worse facilities: places to study and places to socialize."

Out with the old, in with the new

An opinion echoed by several students, among them 3rd semester Ethnology student Josefine Laura Loop: "Old KUA had a cozy feel to it, KUA2 is very 'cold'." Also, the much discussed wireless Internet shows to be a recurring character, highlighted by 3rd year Film and Media Studies student Frederik Zillmer, saying that KUA2 lacks "reliable Wi-Fi."

Old KUA is nearing its utter demolition, and one of the relocated students, the 5th semester Film and Media Studies student Niels Jakob Kyhl Jørgensen, finds that Old KUA "… was more personal. KUA2 might grow on me, but it hasn't yet."

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By Marlene R. Edelstein on 23. September 2013, 19:56.

I agree with all the critical comments in this article. Flashy buildings do not make a good university. I've taught and lectured at a number of universities housed in old buildings (Krakow, Iasi, Timisoara, the Berlin Humboldt, for instance) and found the level of intensity and commitment, the sense of an important shared enterprise, to be beyond anything I've experienced here. The new KUA buildings signal the utilitarian, depersonalising, economics-based philosophy behind so much in higher education these days.

Other universities I know (Groningen, Warwick, for instance) have impressive Arts Centres and encourage cultural activity at a high level - not KUA, which gives the impression of being an academic anthill

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