The Campus Kolding building at the University of Southern Denmark welcomed its first students in September 2014.
We have made an architectural design that’s dragging learning processes out in the open and into the heart of the building; away from long corridors and enclosed classrooms, which are often seen in traditional university and faculty buildings. The dynamic atrium with the staircase invites students to gather together for informal meetings. This creates the possibility of choosing seamlessly between varied and informal learning environments and study areas, while the classrooms and offices are representing a more formal part of the university at the edges of the building.
Per Krogh Hansen, Head of Department at the University of Southern Denmark, confirms that they, as an educational institution, wanted to offer varied types of study spaces for the students and teachers to suit all manner of meetings. “We have both plenty of room for individual learning and high tables for formal and informal group sessions. Then, we have some more enclosed arrangements, which function as semi-open group rooms. Teachers often move the lessons out of the classrooms and into these rooms, as this has been shown to make the students work together more and learn from each other. This also makes the students develop a greater curiosity about what their fellow students are working on,” he says.
"We have placed a high priority on offering big, open spaces for the students because we wanted to move the learning out of the classrooms and into the free spaces.”
Since the new campus was inaugurated four years ago, a lot has changed in the Danish city of Kolding. Mayor, Jørn Pedersen, states that the introduction of the new educational areas has made a meaningful difference to the local community.
”The new campus of the Southern University of Denmark is a truly amazing construction and it has given a dramatic mental boost to the entire surrounding areas. Along with the establishment of the new campus, the educational courses changed, so we now offer a greater variety of courses in Kolding than in any other Danish university cities. This means that Kolding has developed a completely unique profile resulting in UNESCO including Kolding on their Creative Cities list as a Design City in 2017,” says Jørn Pedersen, who concludes: “Also, the fact that the entire construction is built to be very sustainable has made a great impact on our community”.
Setting the bar higher for future sustainable Danish education learning institutions has been one of the most vital specifications given to us as the architects.
The article is written in collaboration with danish.tm