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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 9 July, 2020

Spectacular saunas that make us want to take our clothes off

Stunning curves, letting it all hang out – some of the features that makes these architectural gems shine.

Source: Partisans

THIS IS EXACTLY the season where a sauna in the back garden sounds like a pretty good idea.

We’re not Scandinavians but the Irish have gotten used to the idea of a sauna at leisure clubs, swimming pools, spas and gyms – it’s unsurprising considering our cool climate for much of the year.

But when you apply some serious architectural nous to such a project, it moves up a stage beyond merely warming the bones.

Take, for example, the Grotto designed by Partisans architects for a private client in Toronto, Canada. The interior is photographed above – it mimics the type of ‘grotto’ cave that is formed by the curving action of streams on rocks. The exterior fits into the rugged lakeside landscape:

Source: Partisans

This one, on an island off Estonia, is not for the shy (or for those without access to their own private patch of land).

The ‘semi-autonomous sauna’ designed by architects Indrek Allmann and Tarmo Miller stands apart from a main residential house – its complete glass structure allows uninterrupted views of the sea.

Does it look energy-inefficient with all that glazing? Well, the glass walls actually transform the solar energy into heat which is maintained by the stone floor.



If you’re really interested in energy-efficient saunas, this one in Piacenza, Italy should be perfect: it is a zero-energy sauna.

Designed by AtelierFORTE it is called Huginn & Muninn (Thought and Memory, after two ravens in Norse mythology), the sauna is powered by locally-sourced wood from sustainable sources. The stilts are just to maximise the view of course…

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Source: Atelier Forte

But what if you’re a bit pressed for space?  Could you find a corner for this pared-back design from young Finnish architects Avanto?

Simple but effective, they call it the Kyly “a modern interpretation of a traditional log sauna”.

Source: Avanto architects

It has spaces for dressing and showering and is constructed by laying massive logs over each other on a 5×6 sq m space.

Source: Avanto architects

Source: Avanto architects

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About the author:

Sally O'Regan

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