Securing one of the most beautiful stadiums in the world – and its one million annual visitors

In August 2020, one of Finland’s most valuable buildings was resurrected in Helsinki when the refurbished Olympic Stadium reopened its doors to the public. ABLOY locking and security solutions are strongly present in the renovated stadium.

The Helsinki Olympic Stadium, with the reputation of being the most beautiful arena in the world, has offered encounters to Finnish and international visitors for over 80 years. Many have permanent — large or small — memories of the stadium that will not be forgotten over the years. Now the stadium has been renewed for future experiences and daily services.

The Olympic Stadium is Finland's most important arena for major events and a meeting place for sports, exercise, entertainment, culture and tourism. It is often thought that only major events are held at the stadium, but the venue is open 360 days a year, and there is activity every day.

Usability and safety of the stadium are key factors

All the stadium facilities have several uses. On weekdays, the facilities are used by sports clubs as exercise facilities, and on the other hand as conference rooms. At the time of events, they are used by event production.

The logistics of the Olympic Stadium improved dramatically in the renovation, as a logistics tunnel was built under the running track, along which the stadium can be circled from the interior. The tunnel is also used as a 400-metre indoor running track. The building also has rentable meeting and office space.

"Due to the requirements of the multipurpose stadium, the property's access control, locking and security solutions play a very important role. ABLOY solutions are a significant factor in the usability and overall safety of the stadium," says Ilkka Rautakivi, Estate and Security Manager at the Olympic Stadium.

"We estimate that approximately one million visitors will visit the Olympic Stadium every year in the future. We have about 3,000 doors and cabinets that need to be locked," Rautakivi says.

Emergency response is ensured with ABLOY electric locks for rapid evacuation. On exit routes, ABLOY EXIT bars play an important role. The locks open by pressing the bars, and at the same time the door automation is also ordered to lighten the door. The stadium can hold up to 50,000 people at concerts and there must be a readiness to evacuate everyone in eight minutes, if necessary.

Silver repels bacteria both on grass and doors

The pandemic also brought new health security needs to the Olympic Stadium. It is important for the stadium to be involved in the development and to help ensure safe events.

"Architectural hardware in the service centre, restaurant and player tunnel, all defined by the architect, were also available as antibacterial ABLOY ACTIVE versions, so it was an easy decision to deploy them. Many other providers offer similar coatings, but with adhesive label technology, which easily begins to fray. Factory-painted ACTIVE is a more maintenance-free and visually sensible option for us," says Ilkka Rautakivi.

The antimicrobial effect of the ACTIVE coating on architectural hardware is based on the silver in it. Rautakivi says that silver is also used on the stadium lawn against fungi and bacteria.

There is unobstructed access in the stadium in many places with door automation with elbow switches. Doors with automation, as well as exit bars, can be opened without touching the handles by hand. This, too, makes opening more hygienic.

ABLOY has protected the national treasure since 1938

Abloy and the Olympic Stadium have a long history together. The building was inaugurated in 1938, when Wärtsilä — the engineering company that owned the ABLOY brand at the time — delivered 34 ABLOY keys to the stadium. Since then, ABLOY locks have secured the facilities and the festive people and athletes who visit it. In the renovation, the doors of the Olympic Stadium received a worthy upgrade to electromechanical locking and access control.

The solution to the stadium’s needs was provided by the PROTEC2 CLIQ locking system. It allows you to open all about 3,000 locks at the stadium with a single smart key.

Almost 400 PROTEC2 CLIQ keys are now in use. Some are constantly in use, and some are only used at events, typically by organizers, media representatives, authorities, cleaners, restaurants and maintenance.

"The electronic Traka key cabinet has also been a positive surprise for us in terms of functionality. It increases proactive security and facilitates the use of keys, for example, in major events where the security companies and authorities can use a PIN code to claim the keys from the cabinet for a specified period," Rautakivi adds.

"And let's not forget the training we received from Abloy, especially in the beginning. It has been very important so that we can get the most out of it," Rautakivi says.

Design that respects the architectural heritage

Next, there are plans to introduce wireless Aperio handles in the doors of the stadium’s warehouses and cleaning centres, for example. The aim is, for instance, to make it easier for cleaners to access each specified premises with an access tag.

"When the reader is on the handle itself, we avoid unnecessary drilling and the installation of black devices on architecturally protected wall surfaces," Ilkka Rautakivi outlines the future.

ABLOY solutions at the Olympic Stadium

  • ABLOY Door Closers
  • ABLOY Door Automation and Fire Door Closing Systems
  • ABLOY Electric Locks
  • Traka key cabinet 

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