Come and see CBS’ most ambitious student project
As befits a Copenhagen Business School, CBS’ students have always been industrious business people. The Students-owned non-profit Spisestuerne Aps, which has managed the canteen operations at CBS for 27 years; the non-profit commercial foundation SL Fonden, which runs the publishing house Samfundslitteratur and others; and the Students-owned Café Nexus with legendary Thursday bar events at Solbjerg Plads – they all testify to the industriousness of CBS’ students.
But the future Student & Innovation House in the old Frederiksberg Police Station (‘Frederiksberg Politigård’), located at Howitzvej 30 right next to the Solbjerg Plads campus, cannot avoid becoming the cherry on the cake.
CBS’ most impressive student initiative to date was generated as an idea in three student-elected members of CBS’ board in January 2013: just elected Anne Marie Engtoft Larsen, sitting Christian Kongsbak Refshauge, and retiring Mads Svaneklink. The idea was not to create a classic student house; they wanted more than that. The vision was to create a student-driven innovation house whose users and activities create positive changes in society through cooperation, involvement, responsibility, and curiosity.
The steering committee expects to select turnkey contractor in autumn 2017.
Students managed to fundraise DKK 52.5 million
CBS, which in the long run will be managing the operation and maintenance of the house, bought the building for the project in the beginning of December 2014 when the initiators had received its first large fund commitment of close to DKK 20 million from Villum Fonden. But the demand placed on them was to raise approximately DKK 54 million – that is how much it will cost to thoroughly renovate the old police station from 1920 of more than 3,000 square meters, consisting of 80 rooms spread over four floors, plus the basement with prison cells.
The steering committee for student house project was at that time, in 2014, still two of the people behind the original idea, Anne Marie Larsen and Christian Refshauge, who were now joined by another student-elected member of CBS’ board, Andreas Gjede.
Following the immense efforts to formulate the visions for the Student & Innovation House project and raising money for the renovation by applying to different funds, they had in the beginning of 2016 managed to gather DKK 52.5 million. That was close enough to the target for the entire project to get started up and to be assigned a client design advisor.
But while CBS formally owns the building and CBS’ experienced lawyers and campus developers have been deeply involved in the project since its beginning, it is entirely and 100 percent the students’ house and project – just as it was their task to find the many million DKKs for it.
2½ years of fundraising and preparations culminate now
Anne Marie Larsen and Christian Refshauge, who were joined in the steering committee by another member of CBS’ board, Andreas Gjede, as well as two current students, Anne Katrine Vedstesen and Maria Flora Middelboe Andersen, have since continued working to realise the project.
Initially, the steering committee took on board 20 students in different project groups. As potential users of the building they contributed to the conceptualisation of what facilities and activities a Student & Innovation House should offer and what was required to make those ideas become reality.
Concurrently, aspects of the building’s future renovation were made into a 10-week project for construction architect students from Copenhagen School of Design and Technology, which gave a lot of good inspiration.
Shaking the last details into place before kick-off
At the moment, the steering committee is about to take on board 47 student volunteers from CBS, other universities, and educational academies in Copenhagen in order to begin building bridges in the creation phase. The students, who are organised in 8 groups with different focuses, are to lead the work with the future activities, content, governance, and partnerships to specific and realisable plans and projects.
Already now, several secondary fundraising projects have been identified to be undertaken for the house. There needs to be raised money for a possible canopy covering of the building’s atrium courtyard, a Living Learning Lab where students can work with sustainability at an ambitious level and ‘intelligent house’ (a rare sight at renovations), and finally, for decorations and furnishing that break with conventional thinking and inspires the students.
The 52.5 million that has been raised so far is expected to only cover the renovation of the building itself.
Parallel to this, the steering committee has continued working on and seeking funding for the organisational structure that is supposed to ensure the life – and the foundation for life – of and in the house in the long run, so that the Student & Innovation House will become a sustainable business.
The committee has also begun the preparations for the selection process of a turnkey contractor for the renovations. These things are expected to be in place in autumn 2017.
Guided tours of the house at Alumni Day
The path has been long and strenuous. Luckily, the old Frederiksberg Police Station has almost been the perfect pick and mix candy store for the architectural project maker. The old building is a wonderful contrast to all the glass and steel of CBS and the building is filled both with old prison cells and boundless potential.
Details worthy of preservation such as the old middle staircase, the police commissioner’s office, built-in benches, stucco, quarry tiles, grating, and pillars mix with boring 1970’s offices with lowered ceilings. It is possible to both preserve, and to tear down walls, heighten ceilings, and totally renew.
You can see all this for yourself on Alumni Day on Thursday, 19 May. Alumni and students behind the Student & Innovation House project will open the doors for guided tours of the building and will be ready to showcase the students’ engagement and tell the story of the project.