The OOPEAA team is thrilled to be working on a new project for a public sauna to be located on the small Lonna island, between the “Kauppatori” Market Square in the heart of downtown Helsinki and the Suomenlinna fortress, one of the Unesco world heritage sites. The new building is commissioned by the Governing Body of Suomenlinna.
Until recently a military area, the site is now open to public use. The landscape there is unique, with views framing the silhouette of city on one side and opening towards the see on the other. There are several old buildings on the island built during the Russian rule in the 19th century. After the military use ceded just a few years ago, the buildings were soon converted into restaurants, cafés and other facilities serving the public.
Located very close to the city centre, the island is accessible only by boat. The water separates it from the busy urban life, preserving its natural environment and making it the perfect location for tranquility or – otherwise – for a lively party under the summer sky.
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 are being opened here and there.
The unique natural features of the Lonna island provide a great opportunity for adding something special and authentic to the idea of a typical public sauna building. OOPEAA is endeavoring to create the 100 m2 building solely with natural materials and to furnish it with wood burning stoves fired by pellets. It will catch the essence of the Finnish summer sauna while placing it in a new, contemporary architectural frame.
The project is now in planning phase and the construction should be completed in summer 2016.