IPC builds University Square
IPC President Gunnar Sverrisson and University of Iceland President Kristín Ingólfsdóttir signed an agreement for the design and construction of the new University Square. The signing took place in the University’s ceremonial hall in connection with the students’ Independence Day festival. On the same occasion, Gudrún Björnsdóttir, director of the Student Union, delivered the first payment instalment for the contract, over ISK 13 million. The Student Union will move its activities into the University Square, as will several other school functions. According to the terms of the agreement, construction work will begin in April 2006, and University Square will be dedicated in two years, or on 1 December 2007.
Iceland Prime Contractor, together with the architectural firms Hornsteinar and Teiknistofa Ingimundar Sveinssonar, were the winners of last summer’s closed competition among contractors and designers for the design of University Square. The complete design of the buildings is ahead, and construction is to begin in April 2006. Concrete will be poured for the bottom floors of the University Square buildings next summer, and it is estimated that construction will be completed in the spring of 2007. The surrounding lots will be finished during the summer of 2007, and the interior finishing will be completed the following autumn. If the project is completed on schedule, University Square will be delivered in November 2007 and dedicated on 1 December 2007.
University Square is the collective name for two buildings that will, together with the accompanying connecting structure, comprise some 8,500 square metres. University Square 1, on three storeys, will be built on the grass expanse between the Main Building and the University’s athletic building. University Square 2, a two-storey building, will be constructed on the parking lot between Oddi, Lögberg, and Nýi Gardur. University Square will be the workplace for upwards of 300 employees of various University departments and service functions. Some 1500 students will carry out their work and studies there at any given time, and several hundred guests will visit the Square every day.
Improved working facilities for employees and students
University Square will address the University’s great need for work space for full-time teachers, specialists, and part-time faculty. Both buildings will contain reading and work rooms for over three hundred undergraduate and graduate students in all University departments. All interior structure of the new buildings will aim at maximum flexibility in order to meet current and future needs for linking, integration, and operational changes.
More — and more diverse — space for teaching and research
University Square will house various types of teaching space, in keeping with the diverse teaching methods used at research universities. The teaching space is intended for some 1,000 students and will be utilised by all of the University’s departments. The buildings will contain two lecture halls, each seating 180, two 100-seat halls, a special “case study” discussion room, an economics research room, a psychology research facility, an access area for students and employees who need access to specialised software and equipment, a computer lab, small meeting rooms, interview rooms, and other space.
The new buildings will be linked by means of a subterranean passage from the ground floor of University Square 2 to the basement of University Square 1, and with a passage leading from the ground floor of University Square 1 to the second floor of University Square 2. University Square 2 will also be linked northward to Lögberg and south to Oddi, both on the ground floor and on the second storey. Two entrances to University Square 2 will lie to the east, toward Nýi Gardur, and one will lie to the west, in the direction of Árnagardur, in order to guarantee easy flow of traffic transverse to University Square 2. The main entrance to University Square 1 will be from Alexandersstígur Lane. Also planned is an entrance from the west, which will be linked to the public pedestrian tunnel beneath Sudurgata Street. In addition, it has been requested of the buildings’ architects that they contemplate additional linkage with Nýi Gardur and Árnagardur. The connection of new buildings and old will create the conditions necessary for proper flow, linking, and joint utilisation of people from dissimilar fields, and will promote the creation of a vibrant, cohesive University community.