Väre, ARTS’s new and noble building has risen in the middle of Otaniemi some time ago, causing turmoil to road and traffic arrangements. Everyone can admire its external grandeur from a safe distance behind the fence. The red brickwork and window-seams on the building do not reveal what’s inside to the eyes of the interested people or to the new ARTS students waiting for the new school. Only a few people know…
As representatives of ARTS students’ interests and rights, we at TOKYO decided to find out. What is happening inside Väre? Is there only an empty gap inside or is Väre Hogwarts with its moving stairways? Where are we moving into!?
As a part of the ARTS migration group, we infiltrated into the Väre. We put on safety vests, helmets, goggles and safety boots. The agenda of the tour was an unofficial accessibility visit before the official visit. Väre is wanted to be an unobstructed environment that does not distinguish people based on their ability to function. As stated in the Finnish Association of People with Physical Disabilities website, accessibility is not just about accessibility, but it takes into account, for example, disabilities in sight and hearing. In the construction phase, accessibility does not necessarily cost more than “obstructed”, but it is about the implementation of the plans. Whether the stairs, for example, have distinctive enough contrast strips or sufficient lighting. Accessibility is often a security issue and is necessary for many groups of people, but often also facilitates other users of the premises.
We dove in from the School of Business side to the Väre. For safety reasons, you could not take pictures while walking, but we had to stop separately. The interior felt like a maze and building equipment were stacked around. The facilities were still unfinished. We came from the Biz side to ARTS side, to Kipsari’s earmarked open space. The space is high and the idea of the move began to warm the mind. Fortunately, students in Otaniemi do not have to wait for completion of Väre to get Kipsari food thanks to Studio Kipsari (Otakaari 7). See the menus here.
We continued our journey towards the metro entrance. The interior of the metro center uses the familiar and safe red brick, here one would know that he had arrived in Otaniemi. Next, we headed toward the studio and work spaces. The builders did not flinch like ants, but they seemed to be calm and determined. In front opened a spacious space in the shape of an argyle. The space was pierced by dark plush stairs, as flamboyant as in Hogwarts. At the bottom there would be studios and ceramic studios with glass walls.
Small group and work spaces were found along the corridors. There is a lot of glass used in the premises, but the first impression is that Väre is not going to be just a showcase or ARTS students its manniquets. We moved to another identical argyle. Surface materials used in Väre are made to withstand art students and their creativity.
Accessibility visit found some notable deficiencies, but the belief is strong that, by moving, these issues have been taken care of. Deficiencies were, for example, the contrast stripes of the staircases and the absence of gender neutral toilet and shower facilities. Fortunately, the deficiencies found during the visit seem to be easily remedied. Boxes on the construction site marked with the text “We bring better air to life” brought hope for a better indoor air during the Väre visit. Waiting for the move <3
See more about the move and important dates here: https://tokyo.fi/tokyo/arts-uusi-kampus/?lang=en