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TU Delft has decided in favor of a new master plan for the TU Delft campus, designed by architecture bureau, Mecanoo. But no one asked the TU's foreign students for any ideas or input. So Delta did: What do foreign students think about the TU campus?

Hurrah. The TU Executive Board has accepted the new master plan for the TU Delft campus. All the way from the Architecture Faculty to the Aula - and on towards the library - the Mekelweg area will be transformed into a car-free public park, with hills and ponds, and presumably happy people everywhere. No longer a transition space, but 'a place to be'. A new tramline will connect this vibrant university with the rest of the world - or at least to Den Haag.It does seem odd this dream landscape master plan was created without asking foreign students for their opinions - after all, with thousands of foreign students coming from hundreds of universities spread across the globe, it would've constituted some inexpensive but valuable market research. TU Delft wants to be an attractive international university, so why not get some creativity and references from the main target group, the TU's talented foreign students?Foreign students however aren't the only ones feeling left out - Dutch students feel the same. As a form of protest, Stylos, the student organization of the Architecture Faculty's Urban Design department, is organizing a campus design competition. Unfortunately, Stylos also ignored the TU's foreign students: Stylos' competition information is in Dutch only.An informal survey of the TU's foreign students produced a variety of opinions. The interior of the industrial design faculty, the entrance of mechanical engineering, the top floor of electrical engineering and the roof top and entrance of the library: these are cool places, students say. But not so the Aula. "I'd break down the atrocity that is the Aula and replace it with a more open structure, including a pub and restaurant with a terrace and a live music venue," says Danny Sutjahjo.Martin Dam-Sorensen from Sweden/Denmark is skeptical - both about the existing situation and the new plan. He thinks there's simply too much concrete around TU Delft, which creates a sterile environment. Also, he finds the faculty buildings much too isolated from each other."There should be more interaction. Why not make the main street a walk way with a covered roof to attract students to come out or travel to other places, without getting wet," Dam-Sorenson suggests. "And bring more colors onto and into the buildings...color code them, or bring in that graffiti artist that creates Delft blue stuff and who also did work for KLM airplane tails."Emre Eres from Ankara, Turkey, fully agrees on the issue of isolated buildings: "At my home university, METU, the masses of the buildings are much more horizontally organized, which creates a more natural connection and interaction."Snack shopsForeign students generally appreciate the idea of a park-like Mekelweg. Lin Luo from China suggests adding a lake, which in China is a feature of many campuses. Erik Havadi from Hungary however questions Mecanoo's entire plan. "I don't understand the Dutch so well," he says, "they put pavements in the forests and are trying to force nature into man-made surroundings. This green carpet surely will attract more birds, but I doubt if it'll bring in more students."Apart from the planning hardware - the buildings and the landscape - there seems to be a more serious problem, foreign students conclude. "It seems that TUD doesn't have a heart," Havadi says. According to him, the whole discussion should not only be focused on physical interventions. Havadi sees the main problem as a mindset condition of the Dutch students who commute to and from the university only for pragmatic reasons.Most foreign students say that creating a concentration of several activities in one place will add to the liveliness of the campus. "The best place for this is probably next to the current post office, which is actually the closest thing we have to a 'centrum' on campus," says Samira Karimi from Iran.Etsuko Mori from Japan thinks that enhancing different types of functions and uses also makes sense as far as creating a center. Referring to her former university in Japan, she proposes that more small-scale retail functions could help achieve this. Karimi agrees: "It would be a nice option to allow private snack shops to invest." Dam-Sorensen adds: "Even a cinema for students would do. Have one large party place or a café for students at evenings. And definitely organize larger festivities, as a way of bringing all the TU's students together."Danly Sheng from China agrees that larger scale social events that engage the whole TU community are a key to a more dynamic campus: "People would find more chances to intermingle this way and will be more eager to stay and make use of places on campus. Last year I enjoyed this happening called 'BK Beats' tremendously, however it was limited to architecture students only."Karimi concludes: "The green carpet is nice but definitely not enough! What's most needed is action and life and places to get together with the crowd and refresh yourself for the next hour of lectures."Coming soon, terrace tables and chairs? (Photo: Ekim Tan, MSc, Turkey)

Hurrah. The TU Executive Board has accepted the new master plan for the TU Delft campus. All the way from the Architecture Faculty to the Aula - and on towards the library - the Mekelweg area will be transformed into a car-free public park, with hills and ponds, and presumably happy people everywhere. No longer a transition space, but 'a place to be'. A new tramline will connect this vibrant university with the rest of the world - or at least to Den Haag.It does seem odd this dream landscape master plan was created without asking foreign students for their opinions - after all, with thousands of foreign students coming from hundreds of universities spread across the globe, it would've constituted some inexpensive but valuable market research. TU Delft wants to be an attractive international university, so why not get some creativity and references from the main target group, the TU's talented foreign students?Foreign students however aren't the only ones feeling left out - Dutch students feel the same. As a form of protest, Stylos, the student organization of the Architecture Faculty's Urban Design department, is organizing a campus design competition. Unfortunately, Stylos also ignored the TU's foreign students: Stylos' competition information is in Dutch only.An informal survey of the TU's foreign students produced a variety of opinions. The interior of the industrial design faculty, the entrance of mechanical engineering, the top floor of electrical engineering and the roof top and entrance of the library: these are cool places, students say. But not so the Aula. "I'd break down the atrocity that is the Aula and replace it with a more open structure, including a pub and restaurant with a terrace and a live music venue," says Danny Sutjahjo.Martin Dam-Sorensen from Sweden/Denmark is skeptical - both about the existing situation and the new plan. He thinks there's simply too much concrete around TU Delft, which creates a sterile environment. Also, he finds the faculty buildings much too isolated from each other."There should be more interaction. Why not make the main street a walk way with a covered roof to attract students to come out or travel to other places, without getting wet," Dam-Sorenson suggests. "And bring more colors onto and into the buildings...color code them, or bring in that graffiti artist that creates Delft blue stuff and who also did work for KLM airplane tails."Emre Eres from Ankara, Turkey, fully agrees on the issue of isolated buildings: "At my home university, METU, the masses of the buildings are much more horizontally organized, which creates a more natural connection and interaction."Snack shopsForeign students generally appreciate the idea of a park-like Mekelweg. Lin Luo from China suggests adding a lake, which in China is a feature of many campuses. Erik Havadi from Hungary however questions Mecanoo's entire plan. "I don't understand the Dutch so well," he says, "they put pavements in the forests and are trying to force nature into man-made surroundings. This green carpet surely will attract more birds, but I doubt if it'll bring in more students."Apart from the planning hardware - the buildings and the landscape - there seems to be a more serious problem, foreign students conclude. "It seems that TUD doesn't have a heart," Havadi says. According to him, the whole discussion should not only be focused on physical interventions. Havadi sees the main problem as a mindset condition of the Dutch students who commute to and from the university only for pragmatic reasons.Most foreign students say that creating a concentration of several activities in one place will add to the liveliness of the campus. "The best place for this is probably next to the current post office, which is actually the closest thing we have to a 'centrum' on campus," says Samira Karimi from Iran.Etsuko Mori from Japan thinks that enhancing different types of functions and uses also makes sense as far as creating a center. Referring to her former university in Japan, she proposes that more small-scale retail functions could help achieve this. Karimi agrees: "It would be a nice option to allow private snack shops to invest." Dam-Sorensen adds: "Even a cinema for students would do. Have one large party place or a café for students at evenings. And definitely organize larger festivities, as a way of bringing all the TU's students together."Danly Sheng from China agrees that larger scale social events that engage the whole TU community are a key to a more dynamic campus: "People would find more chances to intermingle this way and will be more eager to stay and make use of places on campus. Last year I enjoyed this happening called 'BK Beats' tremendously, however it was limited to architecture students only."Karimi concludes: "The green carpet is nice but definitely not enough! What's most needed is action and life and places to get together with the crowd and refresh yourself for the next hour of lectures."Coming soon, terrace tables and chairs? (Photo: Ekim Tan, MSc, Turkey)

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