Accessible entrance to Sibelius´s Ainola
Ainola museum, home of the composer Jean Sibelius, designed by architect Lars Sonck, installed an elevator this year to enable accessible entrance. Ainola stands on the scenic shores of Lake Tuusula and was the home of Jean Sibelius and his family from 1904. Architecture agency Freese Oy designed the new improvements. An elevator was installed alongside the stairs and handrails were added. Also the maintenance building was turned to a café with up-to-date toilets including accessible WC.
Renovations in Ainola are a delightful example of improving the accessibility of nationally significant historical building. Architect Simon Freese commented the improvements he designed by saying that accessibility should neither take the main attention of the place nor become the dominant element. Architect Maija Könkkölä, who has campaigned for decades for accessibility, thinks that renovations in Ainola are a welcome change and carried out elegantly.
There has been a need for an accessible entrance and elevator will be in good use according to the museum director Hilkka Helminen. "Many of our audience are aged people, for example users of the walker. Former ramp arrangements in Ainola were unfunctional for users, staff and the historical building. Sharp, heavy and ugly ramps took the main attention during the museum visit and caused displeasure to everyone. The new elevator solves all of these problems."
In Ainola the museum visitors have also been taken into account by offering seats to those who prefer to sit down while listening to the guided tour. Also a range of museum objects and furniture can be touched by visually impaired people.
Ainola is open to public during the summer months. There is already a possibility to make reservations for the year 2011. You can find more information about Ainola - The home of Aino and Jean Sibelius from the museum web pages http://www.ainola.fi/eng_index.php.