Copenhagen Gallery


The University of Copenhagen on Amager is getting a serious face-lift in the shape of four new blocks, that's been built around the skeletal frames of the run-down buildings in Njalsgade

For years and years, students, professors, and scientists at the University of Copenhagen on Amager (KUA) have dreamt of replacing the run-down shed-like buildings in Njalsgade with something more up-to-date. After more than thirty years of waiting, their dream is finally coming true.

When KUMUA became KUA

The buildings, now colloquially known as "old KUA", were erected between 1972 and 1979 and referred to as KUMUA: in Danish, short for the University of Copenhagen's Temporary Addition on Amager. Later the addition took on a more permanent character, as it turned out to be impossible to move the entire university back to the inner city area. In the mid-90s it was therefore decided to build an entirely new campus for the humanities, law, theology and computer science departments on Amager in what had in the meantime become Ørestad North.

Building trilogy

The plan for the new so-called Southern Campus is divided into three phases, the first of which was completed in 2001 - the long, sand-coloured buildings at the western end of Njalsgade, colloquially known as "new KUA".

Phase two has been focused on improving conditions at the old KUA. The buildings, which were certainly never built with durability in mind, were so run-down that it was necessary to first strip them back to their basic structure and then rebuild and extend them to obtain a standard that is worthy of a university.

Long rectangular blocks and transverse buildings

Phase two calls for four new blocks that are to be built around the skeletal frames of the old ones to accommodate the humanities departments not already housed in phase one. The orientation of the four rectangular blocks means that they point towards Njalsgade and a planned university square to the south respectively. As part of the rebuilding project the buildings are connected by a "learning street," providing study desks, teaching rooms and an internal square with links to administration offices, an operations centre, a student café, a bookshop, service functions and a new conference centre.

The four rectangular blocks are to be hooked together crosswise by more transparent buildings and moreover connected with the existing phase one by a footbridge. The spaces between some of the buildings will be laid out as green courtyards for students and staff. The exterior facing material is to be the same kind of travertine that has been used for KUA's phase one, to create the sense of a unified whole.


The coming university square will be a vibrant new hub of city life in Ørestad North. All of KUA's buildings will be orientated onto the square, and, incidentally, a new pathway will provide a direct connection to the Islands Brygge metro station, which many students and employees already use. To the south the green area will also be connected with the new park Grønningen located between the residential developments Boligslangen and Karen Blixen Parken in Ørestad North.

User involvement

Throughout the entire process KUA's students and employees have been consulted when crucial decisions were to be made. For instance, a series of workshops have been held where the architects presented their proposals, and future users had the opportunity to come up with suggestions and objections.

The last piece of the puzzle

Now when phase two is complete, the last piece in the puzzle is yet to be done. The final stage of the University's new framework, namely KUA3 that involves the environment surrounding the construction of phase one and two.

Last updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014