Every cool town should have a hot community sauna like this one in Helsinki

sauna from water
© OOPEAA via Architect Magazine

The Lonna Sauna, designed by OOPEAA, warms my heart.

Where I am summering in Muskoka, Ontario, everything we own is damp and clammy after weeks of rain. Then this past weekend we can add dark and dreary to the list, as the power goes out in a storm and we lose our light and internet. In another country with long dark winters and cool weather, Finland, they know how to deal with this: they have saunas. Some are even communal, like this new one, the Lonna Sauna, designed by OOPEAA, who certainly know how to build out of wood.

Writing in Architect Magazine, Ayda Ayoubi notes that public saunas, once common, have become a rarity.

Public saunas were once lively places and numerous throughout the country, but today there is only a few of them left. However, in recent years, there has been a renewed interest in the tradition of public saunas and a number of new public sauna buildings have opened in various parts of the city in Helsinki.

The sauna is on an island formerly occupied by the military and full of landmarked buildings, so the sauna had to fit into an existing context.

Offering people a way to relax and enjoy the nature and the sea, just a short boat trip away from the city, the Lonna Sauna is part of the unique environment of the island where the man-made meets the natural and enters into dialogue with it.

The sauna is built "solely out of natural materials," although calling zinc roofing natural is a bit of a stretch. The wood is left all natural, visible and untreated. Read more at Architect Magazine.

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