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Photo: Kevin Scott/Dezeen.
The designers of this sauna aimed to build a structure that engaged the local waterways and encouraged people to use them throughout the year, says Dezeen.

When Erik saw my post about a birdhouse championship, he told me one picture reminded him of floating saunas in Sweden. I had to look that up. I found out that saunas on the water are both like and unlike ice-fishing huts. You definitely have to dress differently.

Jenna McKnight at Dezeen writes about the sauna in the above photo: “Visitors can take a plunge into a cold lake after warming up in this floating wooden sauna by Seattle firm goCstudio – the latest example of the trend for buoyant architecture (+ slideshow).

“The structure is intended to be used all year round on Seattle’s lakes and can accommodate up to six people. It is called WA Sauna. … It follows the growing trend among architects to explore the possibilities afforded by building on water rather than land.

” ‘Following in the Scandinavian tradition of saunas as a place for gathering, WA Sauna provides a place for Seattle’s community to share a unique experience on the water,” said goCstudio, a firm founded in 2012 by Jon Gentry and Aimée O’Carroll. …

“Inspired by the concepts of fire, water and community, the designers aimed to build a structure that engaged the local waterways and encouraged people to use them throughout the year. The $25,000 (£17,000) project was funded through community donations and a Kickstarter campaign hosted in the fall of 2014.

“The deck consists of a pre-manufactured aluminum frame and marine-grade plywood with a clear varnish. Boats and kayaks can be tied up to the deck. The floating structure is powered by a 36-volt electric trolling motor. More than two dozen 208-litre plastic drums keep the vessel afloat. …

“Spruce was used to clad the interior and to form the benches. A wood-burning stove heats the space. Users can easily exit the vessel via a door or side hatch and dive into the cool water. …

“The structure was built by studio employees and skilled volunteers. It was erected within a warehouse owned by the local brewery, Hilliard’s, which allowed the team to use the space for free.

“One of the greatest challenges was getting the structure to the lakefront for the first time. … ‘Towed on six steel casters with a 1980 Volkswagen Vanagon, we slowly crept along at dawn making the eight-block trip to the boat ramp in just under three hours.’ …

“Rising sea levels and a shortage of development sites are leading to a surge of interest in floating buildings, with proposals ranging from mass housing on London’s canals to entire amphibious cities in China.

“Other examples that, like WA Sauna, are targeted at communities include a buoyant Nigerian school and a travelling London cinema.”

You can read about another nice sauna at designboom, a site that doesn’t seem to believe in capital letters: ” ‘löyly’ is a prefab floating sauna made of swiss douglas fir. gently swaying in the middle of lake geneva, ‘löyly’ is a floating prefab sauna designed by trolle rudebeck haar – a graduate from the lausanne university of art and design. haar completed this project after spending a year in finland, where he found a true appreciation for the sauna concept and translated it into ‘löyly’ – his final year project. 

“haar designed the structure as a 24 sq. ft floating sauna made of locally sourced swiss douglas fir – a lightweight yet durable material that he salvaged from a sawmill nearby. the entire structure was then coated with teak oil to create a more resistant shell all while preserving the fir’s natural look and feel.

“the interior of the floating sauna oozes with tones of intimacy and comfort. using sliding doors that echo japanese shoji screens, visitors are met with a small wooden burning stove from morzhand. … the choice of stove was made based on practicality: ‘I chose it because it’s compact, transportable, lightweight, and easy to heat up’,  comments haar. 

“haar also had to consider balance and weight while designing the sauna. ‘I was calculating the mass of every unit,’ he explains. the presence/absence of people aboard the floating structure, as well as the placement of the barrels underneath it were all carefully studied to create a safe and enjoyable experience. 

“in just six hours, the floating sauna was built – but haar made it easy to disassemble and scale for different uses.” 

You might also want to click at the Gessato website to see a sauna created by an Italian design team.

Beautifully integrated into its natural surroundings and context, this floating sauna conceptually links Sweden, Italy, and Japan.

“The structure stands on a floating platform, connecting the lake to the land and providing a relaxing space for the guests staying in the clients’ small bed and breakfast. … Self-built by the studio, the project pays homage to nature and sustainability, with impact on the birch forest minimized by moving the sauna on the surface of the water. …

“A glazed wall provides stunning views over the lake, helping guests relax completely and contemplate the beauty of nature. This floating sauna project was presented during the Superdesign Show 2017, held at Superstudio Più via Tortona 27, Milano in April 2017.”

More at Gessato, here, at Designboom, here, and at Dezeen, here. Lots of super pictures.

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