Helsinki's Gorgeous New Public Sauna is Peak Scandinavian Design

In case you had any doubts about Finland as the world leader in modern sauna architecture, the country’s southern capital recently opened its first fire-heated public sauna. And it’s a beaut.

In true Scandinavian form, Avanto Architects put a contemporary twist on a traditional structure with the Löyly sauna, named after the Finnish word for sauna steam and a historic term for "spirit."

Sitting in a steamy room is an integral element of Finnish life, and the country is home to some 3.3 million private saunas. Like the typical home sauna, Löyly is a sweltering structure heated by wood smoke. Unlike the typical private sauna, it’s got a large indoor restaurant and built primarily out of panels made from eco-friendly waste wood. More than 4,000 custom-cut planks form the building’s facade.

The shape of the wooden structure was inspired by the form of a mountain, even though Finland is notoriously flat, and visitors are encouraged to climb its exterior like a hillside. The building was designed to integrate with the surrounding park running along the coast of the Gulf of Finland.

In the winter, a hole is cut into the ice of the adjacent bay so that visitors can hop between enveloping heat and blood-chilling cold.




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