The City of Helsinki Council on Disability has selected the Olympic Stadium renovation as the recipient of the 2021 Accessibility Award. The award was presented on 3 December at the event for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
The Olympic Stadium is one of the best-known landmarks in Helsinki, if not the whole of Finland. It is one of the key symbols of Helsinki, and during its extensive renovation and renewal process, particular attention was paid to accessibility.
The Stadium Foundation (Stadion-säätiö) is responsible for the administration of the City of Helsinki-owned Helsinki Olympic Stadium. The Foundation commissioned a comprehensive renovation of the stadium, which was carried out by the City of Helsinki’s Urban Environment Division.The extensive renovation was carried out with outmost respect to the historic structures of the Olympic Stadium without making any compromises on accessibility or aesthetics.
Many exercise enthusiasts and spectators were involved in various stages of the renovation to make sure that their needs were considered during the process. After the renovation, the Stadium stands include accessible seats. Elevators and accessible toilets were also added to the Stadium facilities.
The new and improved Olympic Stadium gives everyone equal opportunity to experience the joy of exercise and safe and easy mobility, both in the stands and on the field. The Olympic Stadium renovation clearly proves that accessibility can also be achieved in old, prestigious buildings.
Accessible joy of exercise – with respect to aesthetics and the history of the building
The Council on Disability considers it a priority that Helsinki’s historical buildings are made accessible. This will ensure that all city residents have equal opportunity to participate. Sports and exercise affect both our national identity and also our individual experience of active citizenship.
The Accessibility Award was accepted by the representatives of the contractor and the developer of the Olympic Stadium renovation: Ari Kuokkanen, Managing Director at the Stadion Foundation, and the City of Helsinki Team Leader Reetta Amper, who was involved in planning guidance, standing in for Project Director Aulis Toivonen, representing the developer. The award was also accepted by Architect Kari Raimoranta from Arkkitehdit NRT Oy and Architect, Professor Kimmo Lintula from K2S Arkkitehtitoimisto Oy, who acted as the main designers for the renovation project.
Accessibility Awards previously granted by the City of Helsinki Council on Disability:
2020 Accessible nature trail on Lammassaari Island
2019 Helsinki Central Library Oodi for the implementation of an accessible urban space
2018 Helsinki Region Transport HSL for public transport stop announcements
2017 Port of Helsinki for the accessibility of the West Terminal
2016 Project Manager Mirjam Heikkinen for the development of an accessibility application for the Service Map
The Council on Disability has also recognised the following parties for their efforts to promote accessibility:
2017 honorary certificate to Deputy Mayor Pekka Sauri for promoting the easy and accessible mobility of disabled citizens and influencing the accessibility and usage opportunities of public transport in Helsinki
2017 desktop bucket loader for Stara as recognition for exemplary winter maintenance
2017 honorary certificate to the Helsinki City Museum for the implementation of accessibility
Photo: Laura Oja, City of Helsinki Media Bank