From a floating sauna with a hidden entrance that's only accessible to swimmers through openings in the floor, to a cliff-side sauna that's enveloped in a mirrored skin—these stand-alone structures offer more than just a warm, relaxing retreat.
This floating structure that sits on Seattle's Lake Union 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 via swimming or row boat. There's a hidden entrance only accessible to swimmers, where they can enter and exit through openings in the floor.
Architect Dan Hisel designed and constructed a stand-alone sauna in a wooded forrest along the Saranac River in Upstate New York. The structure itself is compact, and enveloped in mirrors. Built up against a cliff, the interior features a wall of rock that forms one interior wall of the sauna.
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 to two people at a time inside the sauna, while portholes frame picturesque views of the surrounding landscape.
Waterfront Sauna by Avanto Architects
Spearheading the reactivation of the former industrial zone, this recently inaugurated public sauna alongside the Finnish coastline was intended to revitalize one of the country's longest-standing traditions. The structure is enveloped in faceted triangular planes that serve as a structural cover, circulation, and gathering space. The deeper steps form stairs, benches, a rooftop deck, and outdoor amphitheater.
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.
Standing alone on a craggy spot on the shore of Lake Huron, Canadian studio Partisans designed the private sauna on a lump of prehistorical granite that rises out of the water. Burnt-timber forms the skin around a cavernous cedar interior that emulates the form of a seaside grotto.
Kaluga Floating Sauna
Finnish firm Rintala Eggertsson Architects designed this floating sauna as part of a festival where the firm, along with other international architects, were all invited to create structures based on the theme of a house that's built on water. Intentionally designed as a short-term housing, the stand-alone structure was later transported to the Zvizhi Village in Russia, where it has permanently become part of museum guest housing.
BERAU A designed this levitating sauna, moored on 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 that overlook 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. Appropriately named, The Bands is comprised of a trio of two-dimensional profiles that sit side-by-side and contain a sauna building, a picnic terrace, and a sunken hot tub.