Ten years ago today, our Architecture building went up in flames… still, many colleagues and alumni know exactly where they were when they heard the news. Nonetheless, the current generation of students – and many new colleagues since 2008 – have only heard the stories and are very happy (…) with our beloved and world-famous BK CITY.
old BK building (address Berlageweg 1, Delft) after fire – photo: Hans de Jonge
Where was I on May 13, 2008? That morning of the fire I was at work, at the 12th floor of the Architecture building… I was earlier than on a “normal” day and I was warned that the elevators did not work, due to a water problem on the 6th floor… When the fire alarm went off, I assumed the water problem had caused it and I left the building calmly, only with a student’s MSc thesis to read outside “while waiting until we could go back in”. I left my laptop at my workplace… We all gathered in the parking area – it took a while until we saw smoke. When someone said that the flames were already visible on the other side, we gradually started to realise that we might never get in again… Firemen had completely evacuated the building – no one was physically hurt, but many were traumatised by the loss of the building, their workplaces, their archives, their current projects and their second home.
From that day I was member of the project team that had to find a “new” building for the faculty (about 3000 students and 800 employees in 2008). That was a fulltime job until we welcomed the new students in September 2008 and all employees in November 2008, in a refurbished heritage building that we called “BK city” (@ Julianalaan 134 in Delft). Since then I have given many presentations about the fire and what happened afterwards – together with other team members – often with facility manager Dennis Cruyen – see DOWNLOADS. All publications about “The Making of BK city after the fire” were summarised in a previous blog post and can be found under PUBLICATIONS.
Some news items (only in Dutch) that cover “10 years after the BK fire”:
At BK city’s library (Julianalaan 134, 1st floor) a small exhibition memorises the fire of May 13, 2008 – 10 years later.
In the next months, we will gather facts and figures about the current use of BK city, to publish an article about “10 years BK city”. Until then, my most recent publication with “Lessons from BK City – after the fire – for university buildings of the future” can be found as a chapter in a book “Dreams and seeds: the role of campuses in sustainable urban development”.
Last week I gave four lectures – in Breda (NHTV), Amsterdam (AMC) and Liverpool (AUDE) – in which I presented my “solid, liquid & gas” metaphor for both the university and the campus. I started to refer to these physical states during our Campus NL research, in 2016. In a recent interview, published in “Portraits of Science” early January, I explain more about this metaphor, see online link and photo below for PDF publication.
Pages above from TU Delft’s 2018 “Portraits of Science” – published at TU Delft’s 176th Dies Natalis in January 2018 – see PDF or link to intro for short or long interview.
Hand-outs of presentations in Breda and Liverpool can be found under DOWNLOADS. An earlier post about the Solid-Liquid-Gas metaphor can be found by clicking this link or even a 2013 post called “No clicks without bricks”. Our Campus Research Team will publish practical guidelines to translate the metaphor to a campus brief in 2018. To be continued!
Today George Tzovlas and I have launched our book “The European campus – heritage and challenges” in Tallinn, Estonia (see cover below).
book “The European campus – heritage and challenges” is available from October 16, 2014
About the book and research
The full-colour book (200 pages) contains data of all 28 European Union member states and draws conclusions about the current state of the European campus, highlighting both the heritage and challenges on campus. The target group of our book is decision makers about the campus, from the European Commission and national governments (setting higher education and innovation goals, allocating resources) to policy makers at European universities. The hand-out of our CESAER presentation can be found under DOWNLOADS.
To order the book (price: 29 euro excluding shipping costs), please send a mail to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and provide the following information: (1) name company / person, (2) full address – including (3) reference number customer if applicable and (4) VAT number for companies. We will send you the book and the invoice separately (invoice as PDF by mail).
About the CESAER seminar
We present our research at CESAER’s annual seminar, by invitation of Tallinn University of Technology / Tallinna Tehnikaülikool (TTÜ) and CESAER: the Conference of European Schools for Advanced Engineering Education and Research. Every participant (policy makers or board members of European universities of technology) received a book with compliments of CESAER and our university TU Delft. In total 120 copies will be distributed to CESAER members.
impressions of CESAER’s annual seminar – from CESAER’s president Karel Luyben in the upper-left corner to authors Den Heijer + Tzovlas in the bottom-right corner – photographer: Sten-Ander Ojakallas for Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia
Early responses to the book
Many participants welcomed the book with enthusiasm (and wanted a second copy): they are currently rethinking their campus or reinvesting in their facilities and they mentioned that the book is “just in time to support their decisions”. Some offered us to use their campuses as case studies for the next research step or to help with the data collection within their countries (like Lithuania, Belgium and Hungary). Others were proud to recognize their heritage (on the many photos in the book) or their management challenges (coping with underutilization of space, territorial culture, high costs of the campus and energy-inefficiency of buildings). One remarkable fact was that George and I showed a photo of an obsolete lecture hall – without revealing the name of the university – and that more than four (!) universities claimed that it was taken on their campus. The hand-out of our CESAER presentation can be found under DOWNLOADS.
Apart from the management challenges European universities recognized, many are also proud that the book highlights the heritage of European universities and is an invitation to study in Europe, and to enjoy both top-class education and quality of life in European “univer-cities”.
the book “The European campus – heritage and challenges” is available for all participants of the CESAER seminar (board members and policy makers of Europe’s universities of technology) – photographer: Sten-Ander Ojakallas for Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia
Impressed by the TTÜ campus
It is always a privilege to give presentations about university campus at university campuses. In this case we got an opportunity to experience the campus of Tallinn University of Technology / Tallinna Tehnikaülikool (TTÜ). I was impressed by the quality of the facilities, the way this university supports social interaction and how it highlights the academic achievements in the corridors. On top of that, the new innovation and business center “Mektory” (“Modern Estonian Knowledge Transfer Organization for you”) already seems to be successful in connecting starts-ups with industry, investors, the academic community and the many visitors. The building provides many different working environments, including a range of meeting rooms with country themes – each sponsored by the country’s embassy – and aligning with the university’s multinational student population.
the best alumni of TTÜ in the corridors of the main university building
group of students working at Mektory, TTÜ’s innovation and business centre
country-themed meeting rooms at Mektory, sponsored by the country’s embassy
keeping track of who visited TTÜ’s Mektory – accommodating start-ups – on a world map
As always I am happy that the start of the academic year (Monday September 1st for Dutch universities) brings back life to the campus. On the Delft campus two new developments align with our “preferred strategy” for European campuses: more pop-up retail & leisure in public space and bringing new life to an old inner-city building (Legermuseum – see TU Delft website).
At this moment I am enjoying another European univer-city: Heidelberg. Not my first visit to Germany’s oldest university, but certainly my most academic. Our symposium will add another book to the series Knowledge & Space (website).
My lecture* in Heidelberg, Germany about “the (future of the) campus & the city in Europe” – see DOWNLOADS for PDF – *at this stage no group photos were available for blog publishing – when they are, I will add them to this post
The subject “Geographies of the university” also aligns with Flavia’s PhD research – see blog link and her assessment of 39 campuses, which will most likely be published in 2015 – the flyer: Summary Exploratory Research.
book “The European campus – heritage and challenges” is available from October 16, 2014
Speaking of books: George Tzovlas – who was promoted from researcher to PhD researcher last month – and I will launch our book “The European campus – heritage and challenges” (cover) next month – October 16 in Tallinn, Estonia – at the annual conference of CESAER, the network of European Universities of Technology. All participants will receive a copy. After that conference the book will be available. First responses to the draft copy: “A tour guide for studying in Europe”, referring to the many photos that highlight the beauty of Europe. However, the book also covers the “headaches” of the European campus, of which fewer photos are published online.
Last week our president Dirk Jan van den Berg gave a speech in Milan that created a buzz – for the 32nd Conference of Rectors and Presidents of European Universities of Technology. One of his quotes can be found below.
“I would argue that the university system in Europe is at least as determining for Europe’s future as the banking system. We too are too important to fail. So why not conduct a university campus stress test to assess the robustness of Europe’s higher education and research infrastructure. I fear the outcomes will be rather chilling and will call for an extensive overhaul of the existing facilities.”
BK city’s population is back after summer – working in teams, emphasizing the importance of a physical learning environment, next to all the online learning and online communities
Dirk Jan van den Berg also stated that there will be “no clicks without bricks”, highlighting the importance of a physical place to meet, interact and work. By definition, the university is a market place for knowledge exchange. We can replace some bricks with clicks, but we can’t and won’t replace them all. Without bricks universities are footloose and will neither be rooted in cities nor add value to the regional economy. I would even defend the proposition: without bricks a university can not be world-class (like the proposition: “a relationship can not be very good, when it is only virtual”). The need to physically interact is at the basis of both – see previous blog: “Students become tourists”.
This also became obvious when a combination of TU Delft, Wageningen UR and MIT won the competition for a new Technology Institute in Amsterdam: AMS (Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, but AMS is also Amsterdam’s airport code): see press release website TU Delft. One of the first questions that journalists asked was: “Where in Amsterdam?”. Innovation very much benefits from serendipity and physical interaction between ‘academic acquantainces’, scientists that inspire each other with different perspectives on the same subject (source: research Bentinck 2013 – email@example.com) – the success of thinking ‘out of the box’ also reflect this.
In the past weeks – inside our own BK city building – we experienced the importance of physical interaction (next to virtual interaction) in our own curriculum. Physical interaction leads to a higher priority in (the sometimes endless) ‘to do lists’ and to more focus when interacting: non-verbal behaviour is hard(er) to hide and the distraction that a smart phone brings, is easier to suppress when everybody notices.
It has been a very busy period – the end of the summer and the start of a brand new BSc curriculum at our faculty. Nonetheless, the energy of new students is contagious. Certainly when they have a group assignment like making a bridge, demonstrated in the 4-minute movie below. This movie not only makes you want to go back to school – in this case: our own school – it also shows our building BK city at its best.
All of the above made me very proud of my university, my faculty (department) and my colleagues. Yes, our new academic year had a very good start…
If students could study anywhere, where would they go? My theory: they would select their learning environment the same way as tourists do: places with unique qualities – usually cultural heritage – and attractive public space, densely populated areas that encourage social encounters or at least give a sense of place. At the same time many universities in the world are adding new buildings to ‘could be anywhere’ locations – usually isolated campuses – with not much attention for public space or public transport to the city. Of course, researchers that need specialized labs that are only available on specific locations will still come, but more and more university activities become place-independent and flexible to accommodate. Paradoxically, more place independency makes (quality of) place more important. If students can go anywhere, why would they go to your campus or univer-city? Or why would they stay in your univer-city after graduation?
These questions were asked (and answered) in three sessions in the past week:
– June 14, 2013 – 3-hour session about Univer-city Bochum in Germany (see previous post Univer-city Bochum, Germany);
– June 18, 2013 – 2-hour meeting about a common agenda for Delft “Univer-City” with TU Delft’s executive board (College van Bestuur) and the mayor and aldermen of Delft (Burgemeester & Wethouders)
– June 21, 2013 – two 1-hour sessions about the importance of the city for universities at a VSNU retreat for executive boards of all 14 Dutch (research) universities
All three presentations of the past week can be found under DOWNLOADS.
Univer-city checklist, based on TU Delft research (Den Heijer, Curvelo Magdaniel, Bentinck, Tzovlas)
Since the goals of cities (regions) and universities are increasingly similar – attracting and retaining knowledge workers for economic growth or (keeping/improving) their position in the global rankings – the strategic agendas are more and more alike. All the more reason to align them. The lack of resources to plan independently and ‘the brain drain already taking place’ are two more reasons to collaborate – before it is too late (and knowledge workers and their economic value have moved elsewhere).
During these discussions (after my lecture or introduction) the following comments were remarkable:
– in Bochum, Germany (a president of one of the “Hochschulen”): “A substantial group of my employees never visits the city of Bochum – they do not spend any euro here”
– student housing and – after that – alumni housing is crucial (one of the aldermen in Delft): “First house, first child: if you can keep the knowledge worker long enough, they will decide to settle and grow roots”
– in the end “place attachment” depends on alumni finding work – in the meantime: stimulating and accommodating entrepreneurial activities will be one of the collective tasks of university and municipality
– at the VSNU retreat both groups concluded that there are niche Master tracks (i.e. agriculture), world-famous (i.e. Ivy League) universities or unique research institutes (i.e. CERN) that will attract students and other knowledge workers despite their location or quality of buildings, but there are many, many more ‘same quality universities’ that offer similar Bachelor/Master/PhD programmes and compete on other qualities, including their physical (urban) setting.
Some facts from research:
– EU Study Portals published research (2012) about “reasons to study abroad” – 25% mentioned academic quality, 24% city/culture/country;
– UK research (HEDQF 2012) showed that 1/3 of all students admit to have rejected a university based on the (poor quality of) the physical environment; that does not necessarily mean “buildings in bad condition”, but could also refer to an isolated campus or lack of social space.
Every discussion about the university of the future includes scenarios about increasingly ‘virtual’ universities (also in my own book). Many policy makers state: “Students in 2040 will be completely different: we can not predict how they will behave.” The physical campus will completely disappear? No, because one thing will not change (ever): biology. Let’s face the facts: students are not just attending our universities to learn, but also to meet people, to start relationships – sometimes for life.
On June 6, 2013 I was a speaker at a conference about the Future Envelope – the theme this year was Facade Value. My presentation can be found under DOWNLOADS.
Choosing “façade value” as a theme for this year’s Future Envelope 7 was an excellent choice. Value has many angles – which showed in the four different sessions – but also forced every speaker to answer one common question: who benefits from the façade? Value connects experts from design and manufacturing to stakeholders who own, use and manage the building – this is increasingly important in a time of changing roles and new business models.
Themes like the value of façade innovation on design (transparency, flexibility in form, customization), the influence of the façade on (the user’s) performance, life cycle costs (and benefits) and sustainability issues were discussed in a range of presentations. These are all themes that should be made explicit during the design and construction process, involving the client and user in decisions. This also calls for sharing more knowledge about these subjects in practice and in academia, of which the conference was a very good example.
Facade Value – on stage after our presentations: Alexandra den Heijer and Thijs Asselbergs, interviewed by Tillmann Klein (photo: Marcel Bilow – TU Delft) – more photos
I want to thank professor Ulrich Knaack (TU Delft / Design of Constructions) and his Facade Research Group for inviting me to speak at this conference. Involving the client – future owner/user of the building – in briefing and design decisions is one step, but giving them the evidence-based knowledge about how new (façade) concepts influence their performance is even more important for successfully implementing innovation in the built environment.
For the future of the built environment demand and supply side should go hand-in-hand. On-going research – including the NWO-funded FuturA research (Future Value Chains of Architectural Services) that explores the changing roles of designers – emphasizes that. This is all the more reason to share knowledge between the chairs of Real Estate Management, Design & Construction Management and Design of Constructions for future research.
More about the NWO funded research about future role of architects – FuturA “Future Value Chains of Architectural Services” – can be found using the following link. More about TU Delft’s Facade Research Group can be found on the TU Delft website and on the Imagine blog.
Today exactly 5 years ago – on May 13, 2008 – our Architecture faculty building went up in flames, after we had been evacuated safely. It destroyed the home base of more than 3000 students and 800 employees and – judged by all the reactions we received – a place full of memories for so many more alumni and former employees. It was a traumatic day for many… all academics lost their physical archives.
Our Architecture faculty building (1970-2008), Berlageweg 1, Delft, Netherlands (source: TU Delft)
Nonetheless, we used this crisis to (re-)build “BK city” at Julianalaan 134 in Delft and received compliments from all over the world for both the process (just months: BK city timeline and project organisation) and the result (new life for old academic heritage). It is amazing to realize how a disaster for the faculty could also bring so much success for the same faculty. As a BK city project team we are still very proud of what we achieved after the fire.
BK city = our Architecture faculty building (from September 2008), Julianalaan 134, Delft, Netherlands (source: TU Delft, photo: Rob ‘t Hart)
Since the fire I have given more than 80 lectures about the making of BK city – at least 40 with facility manager Dennis Cruyen – to groups from all over the world and on many stages world-wide. Of all the presentations since 2011 hand-outs can be found under DOWNLOADS. Since 2011 – when I published my book/dissertation “Managing the university campus” – presentations were usually a combination of theory and practice. Indeed, at BK city we have tried to practice what we preach. What we preach can be read in my dissertation/book and scientific publications, what we practiced can be found in the list of publications below.
Interview in newspaper AD – published last week – with TU Delft president Dirk Jan van den Berg and professor Hans Wamelink, who both had leading roles in the making of BK city.
BOOKLET (DESIGN GUIDE)
Patijn, Wytze en Dennis Cruyen, Alexandra den Heijer (tekst en redactie), BK City Guide, Delft: TU Delft, mei 2009. [Link to DOWNLOAD]
BOOK (in Dutch)
Den Heijer, Alexandra en Hans Dalmeijer, Etty van der Leij, Dennis Cruyen (2009), The Making of BK City, Bouwkunde, een jaar na de brand, Delft: TU Delft, december 2009. [Link to MORE INFO]
TU Delft’s 3-minute “The Making of BK city” video can be found on YouTube:
The HEDQF film below – released at a UK conference (AUDE 2012) – shows new academic places to work and learn (United Kingdom: University of Greenwich, Ravensbourne College, Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts, Napier University Business School, Loughborough University, Finland: Aalto University, Netherlands: TU Delft, Faculty of Architecture / BK city):
This week I proudly added a new researcher – George Tzovlas – to my campus research team. George and I will work on the next publication – “Managing the European campus” – that will be launched at a EUA / TU Delft conference with the same title in 2014.
campus research team: Alexandra den Heijer (associate professor), Salome Bentinck (senior researcher), Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel (PhD researcher) and George Tzovlas (researcher)
Next to our project “Managing the European campus” the research team is also exploring “Campuses and cities” (Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel) and “The campus as a place to learn, meet and work” (Salome Bentinck).
About the team members:
– George Tzovlas has recently completed my Master thesis “Strategic Management of University Real Estate supported by BIM: An application to the real estate of the Greek University A.U.Th.” (awarded with honours), following his architectural training in his country of origin, Greece. A link to his Master thesis REPOSITORY TU DELFT and to his LinkedIn Profile.
– Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel focuses on the role of the built environment in knowledge-based development. She obtained her BSc degree (Architecture) in Colombia and her MSc degree (Real Estate) in Delft. In-between BSc and MSc she has worked as an architect (4 years of experience). Her Master thesis (awarded with honours) combined both insights from campus management and urban area development. More about her research can be found on this website and through Flavia’s LinkedIn profile.
– Salomé Bentinck has extensive experience as a campus manager in practice (University of Amsterdam) and has been working at TU Delft since June 2011. She focuses on the university campus as a place to learn, meet and work. More about her can be found on Salomé’s LinkedIn profile.
For recent publications of our research team go to PUBLICATIONS.
In the past two weeks professor Hans de Jonge and I travelled through South Korea with 24 of our TU Delft students (see previous post). We started by visiting harbour city Busan in the south. The urban municipal planning office of Busan city welcomed us on the first day and showed us some iconic projects like the Busan Cinema Centre and the construction site of the Busan Lotte Tower (see group photo below).
visit construction site Lotte Tower Busan
After Busan we visited the 2012 Expo in Yeosu with the theme “The living ocean & coast” – see 2012 Expo website for more info.
Expo 2012 in Yeosu – LED roof
Dutch design @ the Dutch pavillion – the first pavillion of many country and theme pavillions we visited
student association BOSS organised this study trip – this photo was taken by prof. Hans de Jonge at the 2012 Expo in Yeosu – five students formed the organising committee: Dora Baalman, Coen Geesing, Luuk Kops, Roberta Gutierrez Llaguno and Peter Horst
On Saturday July 14 we arrived in Seoul where we stayed for more than a week. In Seoul our academic and business program became really busy, with visits to Dongdaemun Design Plaza (architect Zaha Hadid) and Hanyang University on Monday and to Sangji Architects & Engineers (see website) and Heyri Art Village on Tuesday.
visiting the construction site of Zaha Hadid’s Dongdaemun Design Park & Plaza – after an inspiring presentation of one of the project architects
thanking Sangji architects for their presentations – on the right: two members of the BOSS organising committee, students Peter Horst and Dora Baalman
At Hanyang University all professors contributed to an academic session – about (the changing context of) urban planning – also intended to compare education and research of both universities.
after giving lectures at Hanyang University – meeting the dean, the vice-dean and a professor of the department of Urban Planning and Engineering
group photo at the campus of Hanyang University
Some other photos of the first three days in Seoul are shown below, including my favorite urban project “Cheonggyecheon”: an 8.4 km (5.2 miles) long, modern public recreation space in downtown – see info on wikipedia.
my favorite Seoul project: Cheonggyecheon – flowing through downtown
part of our group in front of Seoul’s Gyeongbokgung Palace…
in front of Seoul’s Gyeongbokgung Palace… zoomed in
On Wednesday we visited Seoul Development Institute – in a series of presentations of Dutch and Korean speakers we compared Netherlands and South Korea and Amsterdam – or better: our Randstad region – and Seoul. In the afternoon we were impressed by both the size and work of Samoo architects (see Samoo website). On Thursday we visited “The Green” by recommendation of Dutch architecture firm Architecten Cie / architect Frits van Dongen who designed part of a new sustainable housing area for client LH – Korea Land & Housing Corporation (see LH website). The Green demonstrates the newest sustainable measures for housing projects (see photos, also with our hosts).
visiting The Green by LH Housing – a photo with our hosts
sustainable housing unit – with many eco-friendly measures and a lot of flexibility in the floor plan
sustainable housing unit – also demonstrated in the Green as a complete mock-up scale 1:1
On Thursday afternoon we got a tour at Ewha Womans University. Last month I was impressed by both the ECC project (see photo and text in post) and this prestigious university. One woman started this university in 1886, which still shows in the university name: “Womans” from Woman’s, see EWHA on wikipedia.
thanking our host for the tour of (the ECC building of) Ewha Woman’s University
our student Dora Baalman, Ewha professor Judith Yoo Daun and me
group photo at Ewha’s iconic ECC building
On Friday July 20 we visited Savills in the morning and SeoulTech in the afternoon. Savills presented us the facts & figures of the office market and retail market in Seoul. They took us to one of the newest office buildings in Seoul’s Central Business District – see group photo below.
our complete group with Savills hosts, in front of a prime Seoul CBD office building (next to downtown stream / successful project Cheonggyecheon)
In the afternoon both professors and students enjoyed an academic visit to Seoul National University of Science and Technology – Seoultech (see website and Wikipedia). Our host professor Ock did not only lead the discussion about shared knowledge and research (Public Private Partnerships i n particular), but also offered our students “Friday afternoon drinks” in a very popular student bar. Both the academic connection and the social encounters were very much appreciated by (PhD) students and professors!
prof. Ock and me – after a fruitful academic discussion, at SeoulTech campus
enjoying “Friday afternoon drinks” near SeoulTech’s campus
As a token of our appreciation – and according to local tradition – professor De Jonge signed ‘our name’ on the wall: “20/7/2012 – RE&H / BOSS was here – TU Delft” (see photos below). BOSS is the student association of Master track Real Estate & Housing (RE&H).
as a token of our appreciation – and according to local tradition – professor De Jonge signed ‘our name’ on the wall
“20/7/2012 – RE&H / BOSS was here – TU Delft” (RE&H is TU Delft Faculty of Architecture’s Master track Real Estate & Housing)
This was an excellent end of a busy week and successful student trip. On Saturday July 21 we took a DMZ tour to North Korea, which was very impressive. On Sunday our group split to various Asian countries – some stayed in South Korea and some returned to Netherlands. Professor Hans de Jonge and I want to thank everyone – including our group members and especially the BOSS organising committee – for their valuable contributions and we also look forward to the student report!
Author Alexandra den Heijer (professor of Public Real Estate, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, TU Delft) started this blog when her book "Managing the university campus" was published in March 2011. The blog describes the process after her PhD defence (March 4, 2011): the publicity, many lectures, articles, papers, new research and visits to campuses all over the world.
Interested in joining our CAMPUS RESEARCH TEAM? See weblink for jobs: https://www.tudelft.nl/en/about-tu-delft/working-at-tu-delft/search-jobs/