In the heart of Helsinki's Kallio district, a drill whirs and scaffolding fills the space. For 30 years, the building has served as the offices of the Finnish Association of Local Authorities and has also been a venue for a wide range of meetings.
During the major renovation updated, both the office space and the meeting and training facilities that make up the conference center. This required a new way of thinking, including in terms of presentation systems.
The Municipal House serves as the venue for many meetings in the municipal sector, but the functional setting of the house can be rented by anyone who needs the space. The Municipal House currently has 30 meeting and training rooms and a comprehensive range of ancillary services.
"The house has a very wide range of users. It is used for board meetings at both decision-making and housing company level and, of course, for various seminars, corporate training and evening events," says Risto Timonen, Director of Kuntaliitto Palvelut Oy, the company that operates the operations.
One of the biggest events held annually at the Kuntatalo premises is the Kuntamarkkinat event, during which the premises serve thousands of people with lectures, discussions and receptions. For example, the 2015 Municipal Market brought together more than 7 500 visitors over two days.
"When we set out to list the wishes and needs for our audiovisual solutions to be renewed, three key issues emerged: ease of use, versatility and the importance of data transfer." Erkki Jylhä, the technical manager of the building, continues, "We also wanted to make the spaces as adaptable as possible, both in terms of size and functionality."
Audico was contracted by Lyreco, a leading Finnish office equipment and technology supplier, KL-Kuntahankinnat Oy, to design and implement the Municipal House. Audico works closely with Lyreco on demanding audiovisual projects. Lyreco's Sales Director Risto Wolin and Audico's Olli Karisalmi were responsible for the Municipal House project.Audico was involved in designing and implementing the Municipal House's lecture hall, meeting rooms, training rooms and other common areas.
"The Municipal House is an interesting project in its architectural challenge. The audiovisual part of the renovation has used the existing design and cabling. Instead of having visible AV centers, the audiovisual equipment is concentrated in separate, easily accessible but hidden spaces," says Karisalmi, describing the starting situation.
The premises of the Municipal House are now being transformed into many different types of space, and the rooms have been given a fresh new look with a refurbished interior. And the presentation technology is now better served. Depending on the event, the large lecture theatre can be expanded into a single space up to the foyer via screens and sound systems, if necessary. On the other hand, a separate event can be held in the lobby at the same time as the lecture hall. The common areas on the upper floors can also be used for training and events.
The conference rooms have been renovated and equipped with projectors or professional screens, depending on their size. The larger rooms are equipped with Sony laser projectors and auxiliary screens. Genelec active loudspeakers and RCF embedded loudspeakers have been installed in all rooms. The functionality of the lecture theatre was enhanced with Sony projectors and now speakers are supported by Arthur Holm auxiliary screens. Crestron's user-friendly control panels streamline AV control.
Communication has been taken into account in the AV design in a variety of ways. Lobby screens can be harnessed for event information in addition to traditional signage. Audio and video can be moved from one room to another using Crestron twisted-pair cable converters. In addition, a Crestron space reservation system and door displays have been installed in all spaces to allow for smooth management of the facilities.
Upgrading the technology in the Municipal House required patience. The building was being renovated floor by floor and corner by corner. The number of meeting rooms in the Municipal House increased as the renovation continued. Working with Audico, Jylhä has come to trust Karisalmi's plans.
"The great thing about working with Audico has been that nothing has been purchased in vain. If a piece of equipment hasn't worked as expected, a more functional solution has been found to replace it."
"Expectations for the new equipment were high and the Municipal Market was a real test of the equipment for the whole system. Audico professionals Toni Hämäläinen and Esa Vaaramaa were on call just in case and managed the tight schedule of lectures with just a user guide. Feedback from users was positive and the sound reproduction in particular was praised. The coordination of the AV technology and camera system in the lecture hall and the last-minute acquisitions enabled high-quality TV images to be shown in different parts of the building and streamed outside the building." Erkki Jylhä says.
"The smooth cooperation between Lyreco and Audico and the fast delivery of goods shortened the renovation time and the premises were quickly made available for the Municipal House's meeting service."
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