Lonna Sauna is a new a public sauna located on the small island of Lonna in the archipelago just in front of the city center of Helsinki. It is part of a historical continuum of the tradition of public saunas in Finland.
On the border between urban and nature, between the busy life of the city and the open landscapes on the sea, with views framing the silhouette of city on one side and opening towards the see on the other, the Lonna Sauna is a new building sitting in the context of a group of old historical structures built during the Russian rule in the 19th century. The island used to be occupied by the military and has only very recently been opened up to the public. It is located right next to the larger Suomenlinna island which is a world heritage site.
The old buildings on the Lonna island are landmarked and the nature on the island is delicate and special. Offering people a way to relax and enjoy nature and the sea, just a short boat trip away from the city, the Lonna Sauna is part of this environment where the man-made meets the natural and enters into dialogue with it. With its wood-burning stove it is about the bathing experience, and about being able to look out to the sea while relaxing in the warmth of the sauna.
Located very close to the city center, the island is accessible only by boat. Water separates it from the boost of urban life, preserving its natural environment and making it the perfect location for tranquility or – otherwise – for a lively party under the summer skies. As the functions on the island change, so does the sauna culture in Finland. Public saunas were once lively places and numerous throughout the country, but today there is only a few of them left. However, in recent years, there has been a renewed interest in the tradition of public saunas and a number of new public sauna buildings have opened in various parts of the city in Helsinki.
The unique natural features of the Lonna island provide a great opportunity for adding something special and authentic to the idea of an urban public sauna building. The compact 100 m2 building is built solely with natural materials with a sculptural pitched roof in zinc plate and a masterfully handcrafted wooden log structure, which is left visible and untreated. Furnished with wood burning stoves it recreates the calm and almost sacred feeling of the traditional Finnish sauna, while placing it in a new, contemporary architectural frame. The skilful use of larch in the furnishings and the large windows opening on to the archipelago create strong contemporary interiors. The terrace is directly accessible from the sauna rooms and from the outdoor shower space bridging the sauna with the seashore.
The Lonna Sauna will be officially opened to the public in summer 2017. The building is commissioned by the Governing Body of Suomenlinna.
Governing Body of Suomenlinna
2014 - 2016
ARCHITECT IN CHARGE:
Teemu Leppälä (construction phase)
Ransu Helenius, Juha Pakkala, Iida Hedberg