Escape to One of These 10 Otherworldly Outdoor Saunas

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By Gabrielle Golenda / Published by Dwell
Adventure beckons at these modern outdoor saunas that are completely exposed to nature.

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. 

WA Sauna by goCstudio

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. 

Escape to One of These 10 Otherworldly Outdoor Saunas - Photo 1 of 10 - Bathers can easily exit the structure and dive into the cool water via the door or the side hatch. 

Bathers can easily exit the structure and dive into the cool water via the door or the side hatch. 

Floating Sauna on the Hardangerfjord

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.

Escape to One of These 10 Otherworldly Outdoor Saunas - Photo 2 of 10 - Designed by Marco Casagrande, this floating sauna was a gift for the Rosendal community, a village at the end of the majestic Hardangerfjord in Norway.

Designed by Marco Casagrande, this floating sauna was a gift for the Rosendal community, a village at the end of the majestic Hardangerfjord in Norway.

Cadyville Sauna in Upstate New York

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. 

Escape to One of These 10 Otherworldly Outdoor Saunas - Photo 3 of 10 - The Cadyville Sauna was the primary source of inspiration for the firm's research on the history and theory of architecture and camouflage. 

The Cadyville Sauna was the primary source of inspiration for the firm's research on the history and theory of architecture and camouflage. 

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. 

Escape to One of These 10 Otherworldly Outdoor Saunas - Photo 4 of 10 -  The sauna is named after Huginn and Muninn, two ravens in the Norse myth The Odin. 

 The sauna is named after Huginn and Muninn, two ravens in the Norse myth The Odin. 

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.

Escape to One of These 10 Otherworldly Outdoor Saunas - Photo 5 of 10 - This waterfront sauna by Avanto Architects features a louvered skin system, exposed steel, and planks that cast linear shadows onto the sauna's structure.

This waterfront sauna by Avanto Architects features a louvered skin system, exposed steel, and planks that cast linear shadows onto the sauna's structure.

Tiny Sauna Tower in Bochum, Germany

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.

Escape to One of These 10 Otherworldly Outdoor Saunas - Photo 6 of 10 - Narrow gaps between the concrete sections allow light to permeate through, while also providing protected views of the natural surroundings.

Narrow gaps between the concrete sections allow light to permeate through, while also providing protected views of the natural surroundings.

Grotto Sauna by Partisans

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. 

Escape to One of These 10 Otherworldly Outdoor Saunas - Photo 7 of 10 - The space  is lined with CNC-cut wooden panelling that creates a sinuous interior encompassing traditional stepped sauna seating and biomorphic-shaped porthole windows.

The space  is lined with CNC-cut wooden panelling that creates a sinuous interior encompassing traditional stepped sauna seating and biomorphic-shaped porthole windows.

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.

Escape to One of These 10 Otherworldly Outdoor Saunas - Photo 8 of 10 - The firm's Kaluga Floating Sauna sits with other floating structures by Norman Foster, Francois Roche, Vladimir Plotkin, and others.

The firm's Kaluga Floating Sauna sits with other floating structures by Norman Foster, Francois Roche, Vladimir Plotkin, and others.

Levitating Sauna in Geneva

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.  

Escape to One of These 10 Otherworldly Outdoor Saunas - Photo 9 of 10 - The stand-alone structure is made entirely from treated pine, while its corrugated polycarbonate roof protects it from the elements. 

The stand-alone structure is made entirely from treated pine, while its corrugated polycarbonate roof protects it from the elements. 

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. 

Escape to One of These 10 Otherworldly Outdoor Saunas - Photo 10 of 10 - The ribbon-like design affords the building three different gabled roof profiles—one is symmetrical, while the other two lean in opposite directions.

The ribbon-like design affords the building three different gabled roof profiles—one is symmetrical, while the other two lean in opposite directions.