University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


The hazardous revolving doors on South Campus

Construction — Traffic jams and accidents with hot coffee. They just keep on happening when people use a newer entrance to get into classes at KUA2. The students find the doors annoying, and ineffective. The managers justify it.

It’s 11 am, and you have just parked your bike among the jungle of bikes on Karen Blixens Vej. In a little while, your classes start at KUA2, and you now have two options: Either go back out to Njalsgade and all the way around the building complex in order to gain entrance next to the Mødestedet meeting spot – or use the revolving door in building 16 as a handful of tired humanities students with sweaty palms huddle to get through while ten smokers spread their ambience in front of the door. What would you choose?

The construction of the new square on South Campus has resulted in the blocking of several major points of ingress and egress to KUA2. The Faculty has therefore constructed a small revolving door out to Karen Blixens Vej.

The faculty director at South Campus call it a viable interim solution while construction is ongoing. But the students find the revolving door both inefficient, annoying and the cause of traffic jams.

Accidents with coffee – and double basses

“I find it to be a very ineffective door solution. It is slow, and there cannot be very many people in it at once. And it’s a place where there are a lot of smokers, so it is difficult to get in and out sometimes,” says a student at South Campus who once, in vain, tried to get through the door with a double bass on his back to go practice in the music rooms in building 16.

There was also a day when the fire alarm went off in the entire building 16, and this made for a serious situation, as it showed just how low the revolving door’s capacity was. It took half an hour to get everyone out
Student on South Campus

Another student explains how the capacity challenges of the door can result in unfortunate confrontations with the glass:

“When there are many people, you often find that it stops, and you bump into the glass. This is not much fun. And it happens a lot.”

Another source states outright that the door is dangerous and recounts similar incidents due to unpredictable door stoppages:

“I have witnessed many accidents with people who have spilled their coffee over themselves. The whole cup. If the coffee is hot, you can imagine that things could go really badly.”

A difficult fire drill

The lack of sufficient entrances and exits to KUA2 right now due to the construction of the university square led to problems during a fire drill,” a student reveals to the University Post.

“There was a day when the fire alarm went off in the entire building 16 (the building with the revolving door, ed.), and this made for a serious situation, as it showed just how low the revolving door’s capacity was. It took half an hour to get everyone out. Imagine if it had been a real fire,” she says.

In these situations the door can be set to ‘open’, so that its three ‘walls’ are folded together, providing free passage, according to Kristian Boye Petersen who is faculty director at South Campus.

He acknowledges there is a problem if students do not know any other exits:

“If the signs and information about alternative escape routes are not known by students, then we have a problem to fix,” says Kristian Boye Petersen.

The revolving door is to prevent draughts

Head of operations at South Campus, Søren Höffner, acknowledges that it is not an ideal situation with confined space near the revolving door outlet with smokers, parked bikes and craftsmen. But he says that nothing can be done about it.

“We have been impacted by the fact that the construction of the university square has been delayed, so this has been for a longer period than we had expected. And this is of course a real shame,” he says.

The choice of a revolving door rather than, say, a sliding door, which several students suggested as a better solution, was to reduce the draught through the common areas on the ground floor of KUA2:

“The function of the revolving door is to ensure that there is no draught through the entire building. There was so much traffic through the door that was there before, and it was not designed as an entrance. This led to a draught because it was always open,” says Søren Höffner and says there were several complaints from cold students.

The new square is expected to be completed this summer, and this is likely to solve some of the problems resulting from the revolving door.

Until then, students have to face up to the door problem, pinch their noses when plying through the billows of cigarette smoke, and make sure not to fill their coffee to the brim when they sail through the hazardous revolving door at KUA2.

Translated by Mike Young