New square at DTU invites breaks and community in green surroundings
Kemitorvet at DTU Lyngby Campus has undergone an extensive transformation. Wild beds with focus on biodiversity help create unique settings for recreation, events, and meetings.
Thursday 09 November 2023
Magnus Stenaa Jensen
A basin garden, a biodiversity-inspired plantation, and a colourful arena are some of the features of the new Kemitorv at DTU Lyngby Campus.
The arena and basin garden of the square serves as two landmarks that will form the setting for events, group meetings, and everyday lunches.
Previously, Kemitorvet was a disused parking lot. In 2020, Campus Service at DTU launched an architectural competition with the ambition being to transform Kemitorvet into an attractive area for DTU’s students, staff, and guests.
Today, the square has been transformed into a central gathering place in the middle of DTU, close to the coming Light Rail system, which will stop right by the approximately 9,500 square metres of Kemitorvet.
“Kemitorvet is a hub that connects many central buildings at DTU. Now, it is also becoming a social gathering point. We have introduced many great opportunities for spending time here. You can enjoy a break, sit on the gable bench in the morning sun, stretch out on the grass, hold an outdoor meeting, or bring your lunch from the canteen,” says Laura Utke Graae Jørgensen, project manager for the construction of the new Kemitorv.
Focus on biodiversity
The construction of the new square fits well into DTU’s goal of increasing biodiversity on campus. A selection of native plants will create a good habitat for insects and other life in the trees and beds of the square.
“We’ve carefully matched the plantation to the insects that belong here. Hawthorn will be planted, which also supports biodiversity,” says Laura Utke Graae Jørgensen.
Between wooden benches and paths, there are wild beds of meadow grass, which delimit recreation areas. The trees of the square—where old beech and oak trees have been preserved—create shelter and shade under the treetops for the many recreation zones.
When darkness falls, the square is illuminated by LED lighting, which, with its intelligent lighting control, is regulated according to daylight, thereby ensuring minimal energy consumption. During heavy rainfall, the low plantation areas of the square act as rainwater depressions, which helps prevent overflowing sewers.
Colourful arena and basin garden
The square’s two landmarks are one of the first things you notice when arriving at Kemitorvet.
The first landmark is shaped like a circle and is surrounded by multi-coloured textile screens. In this way, the screens form a closed arena, which is illuminated by LED lighting in the dark hours. Inside the arena, you can sit down and watch how the light is affected by the coloured fabric.
Opposite the arena is the basin garden, which is the other landmark of the square.
Here, black granite stones that are comfortable to sit on are placed at intervals in an elevated basin. The basin acts as a low wall framing an open space in the middle. Like a water mirror, the basin reflects the rays of the sun, giving a special experience to those sitting on the black stones.
“We’ve used high-quality materials, and we’ve incorporated recycling in the project. For example, several of the stones laid in the ground on the square are sett stones originating from DTU’s own stocks,” says Laura Utke Graae Jørgensen.
The official inauguration of the square will be in spring 2024.
Marianne Levinsen Landskab won the architectural competition in 2020.