Next year, the UG will have another building. In 2023, the university will occupy two floors in the Groot Handelshuis at the Grote Markt, in the building that used to house department store V&D.
The House of Connections, as it will be called, will be used by several of the schools the university has, as well as networking organisations. It will also function as a meeting place.
The UG will have part of the second floor, in the space behind restaurant La Place, and part of the third floor on the side of the Rode Weeshuisstraat. The university will have a total of 1,280 square metres at its disposal.
University of the North
In addition to UG students and staff, networking organisation University of the North, the Young Academy, the Teaching Academy, the European university partnership Enlight and the university Impact organisation will be using the space.
‘It will be the place where entrepreneurs and academics meet’, says UG board president Jouke de Vries.
‘Because we have a relatively small space, it’s important to have a flexible design’, says Loran Kampen with Groen+Schild, the agency that designed the new interior.
Both floors will have grids on the ceiling, Kampen explains, like rails. Attached to these rails will be curtain panels that are four metres long. ‘This will allow people to create their own spaces. The space can be used for both lectures and smaller work groups. You can’t do that if you create a space with fixed walls.’
The furniture consists of chairs that can be connected and stacked and folding tables that include a whiteboard in the tabletop. The cabinets will have wheels so they can be moved. ‘They’ll have power and an internet connection, as well as a spool’, says Kampen. ‘Like the ones on vacuum cleaners, so you can extend and retract the cable.’
The third floor, which will house mainly staff, will also have rails on the ceiling. Because the curtains and panels aren’t soundproof, this floor will also have fixed walls.
If everything goes according to plan, the Groot Handelshuis will open its doors in the first quarter of 2023.