Eight engineering failures at the UT

| Bas Leijser

‘The Lister’ is a biweekly series created by Bas Leijser, a UT MSc-student and writer at U-Today, who seeks to create order from chaos through the use of listicles. This time, he lists the eight greatest engineering mistakes on campus.

Even though the University of Twente is home to the best civil engineering study in the world (*cough* author bias *cough*), it is not lacking in tragic and sometimes humiliating engineering mistakes. Read on to discover eight examples.


1. The glass door at the Spiegel

Sadly, this door neither functions as a time-travelling device, nor does it open a local wormhole. At best, one may call it modern art, which probably makes it the most valuable object on the entire campus. Its designer would argue that it symbolizes a mirror into your soul. As you open the door and walk through it, you realize that not everything in life has meaning, and if there exists a God, he (or she or it) truly works in mysterious ways.

N.B. This door can be found on the ground floor of the Spiegel, about halfway between the security office and the café.


2. Fire escape at Carré

If you are ever inside the Carré and there is a fire, not only are you stuck in what’s almost as terrible a maze as the Cubicus, but the fire escapes are also only half-finished. Apparently after installing the platforms, the budget for the staircase ran out. Pro tip: try jumping really far and you might make it to the water.

3. New UTwente logo

Imagine this: you are a university, home to hundreds of industrial design students, none of whom can find a job. You need a new logo because you still have some promotional budget left. What do you do?

  1. Organize a competition among industrial design students to come up with new ideas
  2. Spend 2.2 million euros for a ‘professional’ company to add a little dot after the original text

If you picked b, then congratulations, you will make a fine manager someday. Ironically, the first placeholder of this little dot at the main entrance was stolen, in what was probably a silent protest by an industrial design student.

4. The entire Cubicus building

Does this even need an introduction? If you don’t know what I am talking about, then let me recommend this amazing article by an author whom I greatly admire.


5. Bus stop smoking cells

According to the trustworthy net of campus rumoursTM, several Chinese people have been spotted waiting for a bus in one of these smoking cells. It is unclear what happened to them or whether they are still waiting. Regardless, calling the design of these smoking units odd is an understatement.

6. Monster of Staakman

So not only is the Cubicus bad enough, but there’s also a monster lurking in its adjacent pool. This monster of Staakman was a project from 1975. It was meant to be ‘art’ and it was meant to float  occasionally. It refused to do that and all it does now is drag down and devour students. So: an obvious engineering mistake, which just so happens to solve a social problem (that there are too many students).

7. Ravelijn ‘study’ area

In the medieval era, this was either called scaphism or torture by locking someone in a cage and exposing them to the sun. At the University of Twente, this is instead called a ‘study area’. I am of course talking about the upper floor with its glass roof, where the sun not only lights up your day, but also your laptop screen, and causes the average temperature to rise to unholy levels.

8. The entire university

Either the design of the university is an ingenious representation of a giant colander, in a homage to pastafarianism, or the entire campus can be considered an engineering failure. Because, let’s face it, it leaks like a sieve when there’s a what the British would call “jolly bit of rain”. Add climate change and increased frequency of extreme precipitation events into the mix, and perhaps someone should do some research on how this is going to affect the campus. Then the management can invest in the buildings, and perhaps buy themselves a speedboat rather than a new Volvo S90 sedan.

Stay tuned

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