Something is wrong with the new arches: Can you spot the mistake?

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University historian Palle Lykke could. So now the arches must again be taken down again and then rebuilt.

2016.03.17 | Marie Groth Andersen

The arches as they look now. Unfinished because each arch has too few bricks in it – four to be precise. Photo: Melissa Bach Yildirim

The original arches. Photo: Photographer unknown, Delfinen 2000.

"Something or other is completely wrong here."

That was what university historian Palle Lykke thought as he stood there at the beginning of December and photographed the renovation of the arches in front of the Ambulatory at Aarhus University’s Main Hall.

What jumped out at him was not the difference in colour between the bricks in the new arches and the beautifully patinated bricks of the buildings behind. Nor was it the fact that the arches were not yet completed.

"The new arches just seemed big and clumsy, but I couldn't immediately see what was wrong," he says.

Missing four bricks

At home in his office he compared his photos of the new arches with photos of the original arches. And suddenly it dawned on him.

"Each of the new arches is missing four bricks. I counted them several times to be absolutely certain. There should be 45 bricks in each arch, but there are only 41 in the new arches," he explains.

Mistake made by the brickworks

Palle Lykke then explained his discovery to AU's Head of Estate Projects and Development, Charlotte Lyngholm.

She explains that the brickworks where the bricks were custom-made for the arches made a mistake. This meant that the new bricks were thicker than the original bricks. But the mason who was building the new arches had not made the architects C.F. Møller, who are responsible for the construction, aware of this. Therefore, they only realised the mistake when Palle Lykke drew their attention to the fact that the new curves were not the same as architect C. F. Møller's original arches.

"This is clearly not acceptable. The difference is obvious when you compare the arches with the other arches from the original building. So the arches must be rebuilt again," says Charlotte Lyngholm.

Charlotte Lyngholm explains that work has not yet started on the project because the university is waiting for the (correctly proportioned) custom-made bricks to be manufactured. They also want to be completely certain that there will not be more frost, as this can cause frost damage in new building works.

"But it looks like the weather will soon improve, so I hope we can begin after Easter."

Charlotte Lyngholm emphasises that the mistake will not have any financial consequences for AU.

The arches in front of the Ambulatory and the Main Hall are being renovation because the original arches have sunk into the ground over the years. 

Translated by Peter Lambourne

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