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Symbolic handover of keys: HafenCity University’s academic inauguration

On 2 June 2014, Hamburg’s first mayor Olaf Scholz, together with Science and Research Senator Dr. Dorothee Stapelfeldt, Dr. Walter Pelka, president of HafenCity University (HCU), Professor Ricky Burdett of the London School of Economics and Political Science and Professor Gernot Grabher HCU, officially launched studies at HafenCity University.

Olaf Scholz, first mayor of the City of Hamburg, paid tribute to HCU’s special role (© ELBE&FLUT)

HafenCity University’s (HCU) president now officially holds the keys to the new building on Überseeallee. HCU moved into the building on schedule in early April ready for the start of studies at the beginning of the summer semester. The official academic inauguration of the new building then followed on 2 June 2014. After an opening address by the president, Professor Walter Pelka, and a short welcoming speech by Science and Research Senator Dr. Dorothee Stapelfeldt, the keys to the building were symbolically presented.

Amongst their remarks, Hamburg’s first mayor Olaf Scholz and Professor Ricky Burdett of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) both paid tribute to the interdisciplinary approach of the University of the Built Environment and Metropolitan Development.  The subsequent podium discussion with Olaf Scholz, Professor Burdett and Professor Gernot Grabher (HCU) brought the inauguration ceremony to an end and was followed by an official reception.

HCU courses were previously held in various locations in City Nord and Winterhude but occupation of the new building means that the 2,000 students are able to study under one roof for the first time. In addition to lecture halls, seminar rooms, workshops, offices and student study space, the new five-storey building on Überseeallee also houses a canteen and a library – with optimal views of the Elbe River. The visually appealing new building designed by Dresden architects Code Unique opens out to a forecourt, Baakenhafen harbour basin and to Lohsepark. In recognition of its overall ecological concept, the building has been pre-certified with the prestigious HafenCity gold Ecolabel.

HCU, which was founded by the City of Hamburg in 2006, is the only university in Europe to focus exclusively on construction and urban development. It unites three academic fields – engineering and science, humanities and social science, design and construction – under one roof. Degree courses are offered in architecture, architectural engineering, civil engineering, geomatics, metropolitan culture, resource efficiency in architecture and planning, town planning and urban design.