University Post
University of Copenhagen
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5 tips for a good study environment from the architect behind KUA 3

ARCHITECTURE – It should be easy to find your way around, and there should be good acoustics. Those are two of the suggestions for how a good study environment can be fostered by architecture.

The first sketches were drawn in 2010 and today KUA 3 is the last structure remaining to be filled from the University of Copenhagen’s KUA campus in the Amager neighbourhood.

Theology, Law and the Royal School of Library and Information Science (IVA) will move in over the new year. We asked Anna Kathrine Bisgaard, who is an architect at Arkitema Architects and contributed to the design of KUA 3, to give five ways for how architecture can create a good study environment.

Five ways to create a good study environment, according to an architect

Clarity. New students are always arriving and they should be able to find their way without having to read maps and signs the entire time. A single main passage, which connects all the buildings, a ‘square’ with colourful walls and ceilings and views of gardens and surroundings are some of the qualities which make it easier to get oriented.

Flexibility. The university landscape should both include “caves” and “savannahs”. A mixture of large, open rooms and small, narrow rooms and diverse furniture will create space for different situations. For example, in the central room at the law faculty, the “Knowledge centre”, mobile sofas, bookshelves and plants can be moved around to provide different structures for solo and group work, tutorials, breaks and social activities.

Indoor atmosphere. Good acoustics, a lot of daylight and high air quality are critical for well-being and learning. Sound-absorbing materials in the ceilings, walls and upholstered furniture contribute to a comfortable sound environment. High-level windows with sky views and glass facades out to inner gardens allow daylight to penetrate deep into the building.

Identity. The identity of the faculty’s various fields of study are incorporated into the architecture. For example, one of Theology’s core characteristics is informal meetings between professors and students, which is supported by small sofa areas along the office corridors which will function as social meeting places.

Interaction. The physical study environment should foster interaction between students, professors, subjects and faculties. Therefore cafeterias, cafés, libraries and study spaces are situated along the single main passage in order to create a large contact surface between users. The architecture should also foster interaction between the university and the surrounding community, which helps by allowing the main passage to function as a new short cut in the neighbourhood.