The public sauna on Lonna Island is an attempt to reawaken the old Finnish tradition of bathing together in a common sauna. In recent years, several new urban public saunas have appeared in Helsinki and elsewhere in Finland after decades of favouring private saunas. An urban public sauna offers the possibility of transforming a very private bathing ritual into a social experience by linking it strongly to the city while still remaining withdrawn from the buzz.
A covered walkway runs through the building and links it with its surroundings. An open terrace allows bathers to enjoy the seascape. The two steam rooms are unconventionally organised on two levels: the washing area is situated beneath the actual steam room where bathers sit facing a large window with a view to the gulf. The wood-burning stove heats the space at ground level.
Lonna Sauna was selected in the Finnish Architecture Biennial Review 2018. Extract from the jury report:
“The jury praised the log structure and the mostly handcrafted woodwork – a homage to the traditional sauna building. The sauna is like a sculpture made entirely of wood, save for the zinc roof, reminiscent of the pitched roofs of the older buildings on the island. Quite urban-looking from the outside, the spatial experience inside is completely different. It offers a sense of tranquillity, intimacy, and finally a dive into the landscape visible through the upper-level steam rooms.”