Chronicle: Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson on KI's new auditorium

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Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson, former president at Karolinska Institutet.

An auditorium to be proud of

Karolinska Institutet's beautiful and unusual lecture hall complex will lend new character to the Solna Campus, with its unmissable rounded, irregular forms and overhang over Solnavägen. The auditorium itself will seat 1 000 people and has been designed by Gert Wingårdh, one of Sweden's foremost architects.

We have watched the building emerge over the past year. A certain degree of incursion into the existing environment was necessary and while it might seem sad to abandon the old to make way for something new and unknown, without change there can be no development.

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In the space of 200 years, Karolinska Institutet has gone from an academy for army surgeons to one of the world's leading medical universities. The journey has been long and has meant a lot of changes over the decades - all of which have been essential to our success as a university.

We know that it is in the interaction of minds that things happen. The exchange of knowledge and ideas breeds innovation and creativity; but for this to occur, people need places to meet. Now, at last, we have a unique and modern meeting place adapted to the needs of the future. The new auditorium is therefore both a long-awaited and essential prerequisite for our future growth. Here, researchers, students and the general public can gather for all manner of events, from fascinating lectures on the latest medical research to the training of tomorrow's careworkers.

It goes without saying that we must build an auditorium to be proud of; most important of all, however, is the content that will fill it. So let us use it for activities that stimulate debate, knowledge exchanges and creative meetings, and that help us to achieve our mission - to improve human health.