Students thrive on a lively and vibrant campus

Wednesday 01 Mar 17


Martin Etchells Vigild
Senior Vice President and Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Student Affairs
+45 45 25 10 09


Ina Borup Nørløv
Project Manager
+45 21 12 91 89
Outdoor environments, formal learning environments, and common areas must provide students with the best possible framework. DTU tests, develops and builds on an ongoing basis to support new forms of teaching and an active student life.

Hammock woods, lunchbox gardens, bean bags, and street food. Student life has changed significantly since the relocated Polytekniske Læreanstalt was completed in Lyngby more than 40 years ago. So, too, has life as a student. At a time marked by new teaching methods, new technology, and a more active student life, there is a need for innovative thinking vis-à-vis DTU’s learning environments, common areas, and outdoor spaces.

DTU is currently renovating and updating the University’s auditoriums and transforming the communal areas and foyers into active study environments. Work on some auditoriums is already complete, and these are being used as test centres for future conversions. Others are waiting to be renovated.

As many of the large construction projects are completed, the surrounding outdoor areas must be redesigned into attractive spaces. The aim is to establish good physical conditions and a healthy social environment, strengthening contact between students—and between students and lecturers—as well as reducing isolation and creating more social events.

Outdoor environments on Lyngby Campus

Photo: Mikal Schlosser

MATEMATIKTORVET was previously only used to get from A to B. In the course of 2016, DTU tried out a lunchbox garden here as one of seven pop-up environments.


Photo: Jan Juel

HAMMOCK WOODS show that it is possible to renew DTU’s outdoor spaces using few resources. 


Photo: Mikal Schlosser

There are several stands selling STREET FOOD. The stalls are movable and can be positioned at different locations on campus..

“We want to give the students the opportunity to remain on campus—even outside scheduled teaching hours. In support of this, we are, among other things, keeping the library and teaching areas open 24/7, organizing the study and learning environments in different ways, and offering a wide range of fixtures and fittings,” says Martin Vigild, Senior Vice President and Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Student Affairs.

“A lively and vibrant campus reflects DTU’s core values and strengthens the social ties between the students. If students fail to thrive or have poor relations with their fellow students or lecturers, they won’t learn anything. A good study environment is a competitive parameter in relation to recruiting a diverse and talented student pool.”

Learning environments

Photo: Kristian Ridder-Nielsen

The AUDITORIUMS in building 303A on Lyngby Campus are design to allow students and staff to alternate between group work and lectures.


Photo: Kristian Ridder-Nielsen

LOBBY AREA in auditorium building 303A


Photo: Stamers Kontor

Lounge area for group work and relaxation in BUILDING 324 on Lyngby Campus

From passive to active learning

According to the dean, there has been a paradigm shift in teaching methods in recent decades. We have gone from passive learning to active learning, from monologue to dialogue, and from individual learning to learning in groups. This means that today there is increased dialogue between lecturer and student, and that the blackboard has been supplemented by advanced IT/AV solutions. This places new demands on the auditoriums, where acoustics, ventilation solutions, and furnishings must be able to support longer and more varied sessions.

At the same time, the students are staying on campus until well into the evening. Sometimes until late at night. This means that learning environments and communal areas are used to a greater extent than previously. Here, students work alone, in groups around a table, or sit back and read.

Communal areas

Photo: Stamers Kontor

The newly renovated LIBRARY in Building 101 on Lyngby Campus is open 24/7. Here, there are coloured carrels for individual study, ordinary tables for group work, and bean bags in a lounge area in the centre of the room


Photo: Mikkel Adsbøl

In the open LOUNGE AREAS students enjoy a bright setting under black olive trees. 


Photo: Stamers Kontor

DTU focuses on promoting innovation in Skylab where students can work on creating their own inventions.

Part of the engineering family

“In the old days, the students arrived, left their coats with the cloakroom attendant before taking their seats in the auditorium. The professor would then enter by another door, give his lecture, and walk out the door again. Today, it’s completely different.” When you start at DTU, you become part of the engineering family. You are part of a community,” says Martin Vigild.

One of the people responsible for promoting an attractive study environment at DTU is Ina Borup Nørløv—project manager for development and planning in DTU CAS Client. She is a member of DTU’s Study Environment Committee, which was set up with the aim of promoting the development of a good study environment.

Among other things, she works with the students under the auspices of Polyteknisk Forening (the PF student association)—as well as leading experts in the development of learning spaces. She has also sought inspiration on study trips to universities abroad.

Often, she has the job of welcoming many guests who want to see DTU’s learning environments:

“Our aim is to create innovative facilities that enable us to continue calling ourselves an elite university. The world around us is constantly changing. We therefore keep an eye on developments, considering whether there are any new adjustments to the physical learning environment that can provide value at DTU. In this way, DTU undergoes a process of continuous transformation. At the moment, we can see that digital teaching in particular is undergoing rapid development. The question is: what does this mean for the future teaching activities.”

Ballerup Campus

Photo: Mikal Schlosser

BALLERUP CAMPUS is home to the majority of our BEng students and a vibrant student environemt. 


Photo: T. Kaare Smith

Ballerup Campus has an amazing and very popular LIBRARY where students come to study and socialize.


Photo: T. Kaare Smith

The campus has world-class teaching and research facilities, and a prototype workshop.

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