Culture Open invited to give an accessibility evaluation of the plans for Joensuu’s new Conservatory

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Animated view of the Carelia-building

Joensuu Conservatory will move to new premises at the University of Eastern Finland campus by 2021 as the building project was begun in the spring of 2020. For the new premises an extension will be built in connection with the university’s Carelia-building. In May 2020 Culture Open –project was invited by the Conservatory’s principal Otto Korhonen to evaluate the planned accessibility of the new Conservatory. Subsequently, Project Coordinator Henna Karhapää devised a questionnaire for the architect of the project, Aapo Huotarinen, from AIHIO Arkkitehdit Oy.

The questionnaire was based on the accessibility mapping surveys the project has completed on a variety of cultural facilities in Joensuu. A report evaluating the accessibility of the new Conservatory building was compiled by the Project Coordinator based on the architect’s answers. It is hoped that the report will assist in the planning of accessibility features on the new Conservatory.

Overall, the report concludes that the plans for the new Conservatory have taken accessibility into account well. For example, the new premises will feature a 250-seat concert hall with an induction loop. Moreover, accessible toilets will be included on each floor of the building. Floor materials will be easy-to-use vinyl mat and the building will have a lift, which has been something that has not existed before at the Carelia-building.

Culture Open –project has done accessibility mappings in Joensuu and Petrozavodsk since 2019. In Joensuu, the project and its’ Project Coordinator were awarded the Joensuu Disability Council Accessibility Award last year for the project’s promotion of accessibility in local cultural services.