Few things are as relaxing as a long sauna session—and that’s even more true when there’s splendid scenery to soak up. From a floating sauna in Norway with views of the Aurora borealis to a prefab hummum cloistered on an estate in the British countryside, these structures are strategically located so visitors can make the most of the great outdoors. Read on for a few of our favorite public and private saunas with warm, cozy, and well-designed interiors.
Located in Tromsø’s harbor—an ideal location for viewing the northern lights—the floating Pust sauna was designed by Oslo-based firm Skapa Architects. Clad in Kebony wood, the exterior features a "fish flake" or "fiskehjell" design made from local pine. The interior is made entirely of black alder, except for the Valchromat lockers. The floating structure houses two locker rooms, indoor and outdoor showers, and the sauna.
Hidden among the cypress trees, overlooking a lake in Chile’s Los Lagos region, this pint-sized retreat is situated strategically for optimal views of nature. Perched on steel stilts to avoid disrupting the land beneath it, the sauna is clad in gray oak siding to help camouflage it into the rocky landscape. A minimal Alamo cottonwood–clad interior makes it so bathers aren’t distracted from the main event—the great outdoors.
Contrast is the name of the game for this wooded getaway on Minnesota’s Taconite Harbor. The main house is clad in warm cedar battens, and across a grass-and-stone courtyard the neighboring sauna is dressed simply as a stark-white cube. Inside the minimalist sauna, three levels of tiered wooden benches are bathed in natural forest light, with views of Lake Superior in the distance.
Artists Mats Bigert and Lars Bergström were tapped to create a public art installation that doubles as a sauna. Dubbed Solar Egg, the sauna was created to commemorate the rebirth and move of the mining town Kiruna in Northern Sweden. The exterior is clad in 69 polygons of gold-plated stainless steel, and the interior has a voluminous feel with a lofty ceiling and geometric wood walls.
This double sauna by Iglucraft is located at Belcombe Court, a 60-acre historic estate in Bradford-on-Avon, United Kingdom. The property includes a historic Georgian house, parkland and woodlands, and a registered English Heritage garden, where the prefab sauna is situated. Built in 1700, the private family home has been lovingly restored, thoughtfully blending classic and contemporary, rustic and modern. The sauna can be used by guests attending the estate’s exclusive events.
This floating structure that sits on Seattle’s Lake Union all year round is powered by a 36-volt electric trolling motor. Inside, spruce envelops the interior and forms the benches.
Designed by Marco Casagrande, this floating sauna anchored in the middle of the Hardangerfjord can only be accessed by swimming or rowboat. There’s a hidden entrance in the floor that’s only accessible to swimmers.
Architect Dan Hisel designed and constructed a stand-alone sauna in a forest along the Saranac River in upstate New York. The structure itself is compact, and enveloped in mirrors. The structure is built up against a cliff, and a slab of rock forms one interior wall of the sauna.
A Bird-Inspired Sauna in the Northern Italian Countryside
Milan-based studio AtelierFORTE imagined a sauna in the northern Italian countryside that has wings that extend out like a bird. A large ladder leads up the sauna, while portholes frame picturesque views of the surrounding landscape.
A Waterfront Sauna by Avanto Architects
Spearheading the reactivation of a former industrial zone, this recently inaugurated public sauna on the Finnish coast is designed to revitalize one of the country’s longest-standing traditions. The structure is enveloped in faceted triangular planes that provide structural cover, circulation routes, and gathering spaces. The deeper steps double as benches, and a rooftop deck serves as an outdoor amphitheater.
The German architecture studio Modulorbeat stacked concrete volumes normally used for mine shafts to create a tower that houses a tiny sauna. Located on the outskirts of the city of Bochum, the stand-alone structure contains three distinct interior zones: an exposed upper-level relaxation area, a centrally located electronically heated sauna, and a lower-level plunge pool.
Canadian studio Partisans designed this private sauna on a spur of prehistoric granite that rises out of Lake Huron. Burnt timber forms the skin around a cavernous cedar interior that emulates the form of a seaside grotto.
The Kaluga Floating Sauna
Finnish firm Rintala Eggertsson Architects designed this floating sauna for a festival where they, along with other international architects, were invited to create floating structures. Designed to accommodate short-term stays, the stand-alone structure was later transported to the Zvizhi Village in Russia, where it provides housing for museum guests.
BERAU A designed a sauna for the roof of an old factory in an industrial area of Geneva. Shared by local creatives, the petite wooden structure rests poetically atop three wooden beams overlooking artist studios.
The Bands in Norway
Staggering over the rocky terrain, students from the Oslo School of Architecture and Design designed and built a seaside sauna made up of three wooden volumes. The Bands is comprised of a trio of structures that sit side-by-side and house a sauna building, a picnic terrace, and a sunken hot tub.
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