The Moisala Sauna is a new sauna for a private client, located on the banks of Siikajoki river in the north of Finland. The Finnish sauna is enjoyed for its physical and mental health benefits, for socializing and relaxing. Modern sauna buildings often allow architects to experiment with new methods and design ideas using wood. This is also the case with the Moisala Sauna.

The special feature in the Moisala Sauna is a round opening in the main facade looking towards the river. Through this opening people can go and swim in the river during the sauna – an essential part of the sauna ritual. Similar openings are very common in ancient Chinese architecture, where round, moon shape gates symbolize the perfection of life, fulfilment and family reunion. These very elements are present in the Finnish sauna ritual as well.

The heated building-area is 16,3 m2 and the surrounding covered terraced areas are about as large, 15 m2. The terrace area is used for cooling down and relaxing after the sauna.

The sauna proper is heated by a woodburning stove. There is electricity only for three little lamps, one in the sauna, one in the dressing room and one for the terraced areas.

Nordic pine logs provide wood surfaces both inside and outside the Moisala Sauna. All the windows, benches and wooden detailing are of aspen, which is the whitest Finnish wood. We searched for a clear contrast between the tarred, black surface of the logs and the clean, almost white colour of the window frames. The same contrast can be seen even between the tarred outside and oiled “natural wooden” inside of the log walls.

The Moisala Sauna has steam room for six people. For sitting, there are benches at two different levels, one for adults and one for children who usually want to sit lower down where the temperature is lower as well. It is challenging to make log-structures with big windows, as the log frame tends to move with time, weather and temperature. For every building the architect must find the right solution. Architect Lauri Louekari and structural engineer Jussi Tervaoja created a new system for accommodating large windows. Sauna Moisala is a sophisticated log-construction, which allows the logs to settle after building has been completed.

Project in brief
Location: 
Siikajoki