The oldest building at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is being demolished. The building used to be a nursery. The pavilion has been there for 65 years.
The Technical University in Eindhoven (TU/e) has lost its nursery. 65 years after its opening, on Monday morning Rector Frank Baaijens personally demolished the roof of the Pavilion, the building that started the history of the TU/e in 1956. Wim van den Heuvel (82) was part of the first batch of 220 students at the time. On Monday he cheerfully followed the demolition. “It does not bother me that much, they are only stones”, Van den Heuvel tells Omroep Brabant.
“We were very happy with the arrival of a technical university in the city. Otherwise we would have had to go and live in rooms in Delft”. Wim studied mechanical engineering there. “It was a fantastic time”, he remembers.
“We had to build everything from scratch. There was nothing, not even a student association. We did get a personal coach, someone who worked at Philips or DAF and to whom we could fall back on if there were no former students around”. They still have contact, Wim and ‘his’ coach from back then.
Rector Baaijens has very different memories of the Pavilion. “The smell of it reminded me of the time when I was a scout and we had our clubroom in a barracks like this”. Baaijens still taught there, but finds it anything but regrettable that it is now permanently demolished. “It was always intended for temporary use. Meanwhile, a new main building was to be built for the people who worked there”. Things turned out differently. The university expanded, but the Pavilion remained standing and during those 65 years it produced thousands of engineers.
The fact that the demolition of the last building was delayed by six months was due to users of a completely different nature. “There was a colony of bats in the cavity wall and we had to create other accommodation for them before we were allowed to demolish here”, Marten Dijkshoorn, of the TU/e Buildings Department, says. Scattered over the terrain there are now several poles for bats and soon there will even be a bat tower.
Frank Baaijens is particularly pleased that after the demolition there will be room for more student accommodation. “A little over 700 students will be able to live here. There is a great need for that”.
“It was no different in my time”, Wim van den Heuvel says. “We even occupied a hotel once because we needed more student rooms”. Close by, or even better in the heart of the city was the wish at the time. And Wim still thinks so: “The students are far too far away from the city here. Sometimes we cycle over the TU terrain on a Sunday and you see groups of students sitting on the grass everywhere. They don’t come to the city anymore, although that would be better”.
After his studies and some trips abroad, Wim went to work for DAF. “This Pavilion has been decisive for my life in more ways than one”, he says, laughing. “Because thanks to the arrival of the first rector, Dorgelo, I met his daughter Anneke and she has been my wife for 55 years”. And so, he says with emphasis, it is the cradle of 55 years of marriage.
Translated by: Bob