May 17th, 2022, 08:00 AM

Community Concerned About Condition of the PL Building

By William Mancilla
Image credit: William Mancilla
First the Quai d'Orsay, then Monttessuy - should the PL be next?

With the recent opening of the Monttessuy building and not too distant renovations of other AUP buildings, some have wondered if the older Passage-Landrieu building might be next on the list. 

AUP has six buildings dedicated to classrooms, student organizations and student life and professor offices spread over the Gros-Calliou area of the seventh arrondissement. According to the AUP Campus Development Plan, "The implication of this strategy for our campus was clear: in order to foster active learning, innovative pedagogues, interaction across our diverse student body, and a skill set to prepare students for life after graduation, we needed to move from ten buildings spread across the arrondissement to a more consolidated, coherent campus."

"This physical transformation would be designed to provide the latest in learning and working spaces that were conducive to students’ academic, personal and professional development."

Image credit: AUP website

But many students and some staff have expressed their criticism of the current  building standards and wish for change. "Many psychology majors, including myself, use this building a lot. There should be space available where all students are comfortable to move around, and be comfortable," said AUP sophomore Ingrid Huang Ventura. "It would be difficult to redo the entire building during the semester, however they could at least fix the stairs that lead up inside the building, or replace them, it seems like a safety hazard... it's constantly cramped when walking in and out."

"The whole building feels like temporary accomodation," said senior Maximiliano Stiemerling. "I would suggest adapting the inside to be a more welcoming space, at least they should fix some issues... I've had small issues with tables, windows, etc."

Some faculty who teach in the building say some classrooms there are inadquate, hindering student learning experiences.  "Theres one classroom that really tiny, PL 4, I sometimes teach there, it works if the class sits in a circle, but I can imagine if I were to do a lecture there it would be very uncomfortable for students and professors" said psychology Professor Zed Zhipeng Gao. 

Image credit: William Mancilla

In addition to aesthetic and functional issues, there are also safety concerns about the building. 

"During class one day, the desk I was using in PL, my laptop was on it, and the desk just collapsed back down. I hadn't touched it or anything. I had purposely made sure it was correctly in place and secure beforehand, because I know how bad the desks are. I don't know just how much internal damage my laptop has, but it's in permanent off mode now. I'm currently so far behind in all my work now because of this." said AUP senior Emma Lewis. "I'm working on my thesis and I can't just go out and buy a brand new laptop within the same hour of something like this happening. I'm not one of those students. I probably won't have a laptop for a couple years now... This has been just really frustrating."

Image credit: William Mancilla

However, a PL building renovation does not seem to be on the agenda. The AUP Campus Development Plan does not list any changes for the PL building, despite saying that "the story of our campus transformation is entering its final stages."

"When we say we are almost at completion of our Campus Renovation project, it doesn't mean we will stop looking for other renovations, but it probably won't be anything comparable to the size of redoing the Quai d'Orsay or Montessuy. said Marc Montheard. Renovation comes with its own set of challenges, though - the newly opened Monttessuy building received some complaints from students and faculty. 

Image credit: William Mancilla

Still, AUP hasn't completely ruled out further renovations, said Montheard. "We have been talking about refreshing Passage Landrieu, modifying some small things. However, there are issues with the coproprietors; they have been quite difficult. So we can't do everything we want like with our other buildings. Renovation probably will not happen this coming year, maybe by the end of the following academic year we might have some plan or idea with what to do next."

"I mean I don't see anything drastically wrong with the PL building myself, but that's me," said Montheard. 

Image credit: William Mancilla

Some also pointed out that department-specific spaces can contribute to a more beneficial learning environment, like how the Monttessuy building does for the arts program. "The Film department does deserve a space though, you know for their theatrics, rehearsals and productions," said Gao. "Overall I would not compare the psychology departments space with Monttessuy. However if we could improve this building, I think everyone would enjoy it a lot more."