Saunas are traditionally small rooms where people experience hot steam baths known to have therapeutical outcomes. Modern designers and architects started interpreting the sauna rooms in creative ways to offer unique experiences to the bathers.
Local practices Borhaven Arkitekter and ACT! have completed an eye-catching two-sauna facility in Oslo, Norway. The design is inspired by the classic sea bathhouse known as Sjøbadehus, which was a popular public health facility in the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century before the inner Oslofjord became too polluted for swimming. Named Bademaschinen, the 90 sqm project consists of two saunas, two towers with changing rooms, and a diving tower.
The supporting structure and roof are built from red royal-treated spruce, while external walls feature reused teak windows from the closed Grande nursing home in Drøbak, their glass panes replaced with oiled plywood. Both saunas have three-level benches, accommodating a total of 16 people each. All internal surfaces are made of veneer.
The material palette recalls the historical context and colors of Oslo’s Akershus fortress, with its row of cannons coated in green and bronze.
Commissioned by the Stockholm Center party, Stockholm-based architecture office Anders Berensson Architects has made a proposal to create bathing and cold bathing opportunities in various neighborhoods of the Sweden’s capital with the help of small swimming rafts and saunas.
Although Stockholm is called the Venice of the North, the city’s beaches and quays are largely unused by the public. The project seeks to connect Stockholm’s islands and shorelines and make them more accessible for public use by adding pedestrian and bicycle bridges connecting the shorelines along the existing foundations for car and train overpasses, as well as small openable bridges to link the city’s beaches and quays.
This will enable city dwellers to move between different islands without having to take long detours via elevated, noisy roads. In addition, small cold bathhouses with a sauna and staircase to the water will rest along several of Stockholm’s quays, while floating football fields will spark life at the Liljholmskajen, Söder Mälarstrand, and Hornsbergs strands.
Taichi Kuma of the renown studio Kengo Kuma & Associates has recently completed a bespoke wood-clad turban shell like bathhouse opened exclusively to guests of the SANA MANE glamping facility in Naoshima, Japan.
Inspired by the unevenness of seashells, the architect envisioned the sauna as a cave-like space cut off from the outside world by a thick wall. Punctuating the tip of the sauna is a light oculus that illuminates the interiors. This also provides forced ventilation with intake from the top. In order to feel the light and introduce an immersive play of shadows, countless folds and undulations were created with laminated plywood.
A series of digital simulations has been used to create the final spiraling and pleated shape, as well as to perform forced ventilation with intake from the top and exhaust from the bottom. After the final model was approved, the sauna was assembled using about 5,000 pieces of CNC-cut plywood assembled on-site.