The Joki visitor and innovation centre opened in Turku on 8 December as the first of its kind in Finland. Joki is an entirely new kind of exhibition space for innovations, business operations, and urban develop-ment, supporting visits by experts and marketing the competence and business life in the region.

The visitor and innovation centre is targeted at experts, decision-makers, students, and particularly international guests. The main users of the building include the City of Turku, institutions of higher education, and the companies within the Turku region. Joki is owned by Turku Technology Properties, which offers companies and organisations in the Turku area with showrooms for visibility as well as service packages containing usage rights to the facilities.

- Turku Science Park Oy, in cooperation with the City of Turku, is responsible for the content production of the exhibitions. The dynamic and growing Turku business region is being shown in a new light. The current positive structural change will be made known to everyone, says Niko Kyynäräinen, CEO of Turku Science Park Ltd.

The Joki visitor and innovation centre is located in the middle of the Turku Science Park area, which is being developed as an internationally significant centre of top-level competence in cooperation with various operators. The aims for the Science Park are high.

- It is essential that business life, institutes of higher education and the development company work together in unique ways for shared goals. Joki is our shared showcase of Turku and the entire economic region, says Minna Arve, the Mayor of Turku.

The Science Park aims to build over a million square metres of new facilities, invest several billion euros, create over 10,000 new jobs, and offer apartments to 20,000 new residents of Turku within one hour’s drive from the Helsinki region.

Advantages of the visitor centre available even to small businesses

The Joki visitor and innovation centre is unique in Finland, but also in the Nordic countries. Usually, visitor centres are maintained by large companies to present their operations and products. However, Joki allows the advantages of the visitor centre to be made available even to smaller businesses, combining the needs of many kinds of operators. 

At the moment, Joki has 50 partner companies which present their operations in the showroom which utilises digital means, as well as organise their own events in the facilities. The City of Turku is the only operator to have a standing exhibition in Joki. In addition, the Mauno Convention Centre rents facilities from Joki as part of their range of meeting facilities.

- Joki is an enormous opportunity not only to business in the Turku region, but also to Turku Technology Properties. It further enhances the profile of the Turku Science Park as a centre of business life, making the area an even more desired location, says Mikko Lehtinen, CEO of Turku Technology Properties. 

Versatile facilities

Covering 1,800 square metres, the Joki visitor and innovation centre is designed by Arosuo Architects, whose idea for the centre won the idea competition arranged for architects in 2015. The entrance to Joki, located on the courtyard between BioCity, DataCity, ICT-City and ElectroCity, is on Lemminkäisenkatu, where it connects DataCity with BioCity.

The street level of Joki has an impressive cave theatre where 3D shows can be organised, among other things. The street level also hosts a digital showroom where the partner companies of Joki can present their competence through various video implementations and touch screens. 

The second floor has an urban development facility of the City of Turku, presenting the City’s future plans using touch screens, augmented reality, and video. On the third floor, there is a round meeting and workshop space with glass walls, usable for workshops or training and development events, for example.

See the courtyard, not the streets 

The construction of Joki in the middle of the block enhances the plans by Turku Technology Properties of changing the area between DataCity, BioCity, ElectroCity and ICT-City into a park-like pedestrian boulevard. The courtyard, intersected by staircases, will be lifted to the same level on all sides, which allows bringing life to what has been a shadowy backyard. 

- Originally, the buildings within the block were made to face the streets, as if their backs were against each other. We wanted to turn them to face each other and emphasise the courtyard instead of the streets, says Mikko Lehtinen, CEO of Turku Technology Properties. 

The Joki visitor and innovation centre is open Mon–Fri from 8 am to 6 pm.