'flooded' design workshop constructs wooden sauna in the swamplands of estonia
 

'flooded' design workshop constructs wooden sauna in the swamplands of estonia

an international summer school, ‘flooded’, has built a sauna in the swamplands of ‘sooma’, the largest national park in estonia. the sauna is called ‘vala’ and derives its name from the built-in shower facility that gathers rainwater falling on its roof. a team of international students completed the project under the direction of architect-artist sami rintala, hannes praks, and estonian architecture studio ‘b210’. the design exemplifies a response to the changing and challenging environment of the flooded area.

vala sauna
a team of international students completed the project
image by tõnu tunnel

 

 

the brief provided a layered and challenging project for the ‘flooded’ design workshop, covering architecture, interior architecture, constructional physics, climatic and cultural aspects. ‘the sauna ritual is intertwined with water — in this case, taking people directly onto the ‘soomaa’ streams which flood the roads, meadows and yards at least once a year, creating a new, unusual world,’ explains hannes praks, head of the estonian academy of arts (EAA) interior architecture department.

vala sauna
the design exemplifies a response to the changing and challenging environment of the flooded area.
image by tõnu tunnel

 

 

the sauna will remain open for free public use, while the site is maintained by the estonian forest management center. the new facility is intended both for local people as well as visitors. as the third installment of the international summer school, the project advances the program’s goals of experimenting with concept development, design, prototyping and the construction of life-size installations in the wilderness. past projects have included mini-shelters in the wilderness of the swampland, also constructed by a group of students on site. 

vala sauna
the brief includes a shelter, sauna and fireplace
image by tõnu tunnel

vala sauna
the flooded region is the largest national park in estonia 
image by tõnu tunnel

vala sauna
the summer workshop was led by the estonian academy of arts
image by tõnu tunnel

vala sauna
‘the sauna ritual is intertwined with water,’ explains the design team
image by tõnu tunnel

vala sauna
saunas have served as an important part of nordic culture
image by tõnu tunnel

vala sauna
the sauna will remain open for free public use
image by tõnu tunnel

vala sauna
the site is intended for both local use and use by visitors 
image by mari hunt 

vala sauna
the project was constructed on site within a few weeks
image by hannes praks

vala sauna
drone view of the sauna reveals its remote location
image by tõnu tunnel

 

 

project info

 

tutors: sami rintala, b210 architects, hannes praks, justin tucker
summer school participating students: emma boudreau (USA), fernanda cabezas (chile), marie-elise chhabra (estonia), fergal clenaghan (UK), rasmus exo (germany), sigrun perla gisladottir (iceland), eetu hyvönen (finland), zane kalnina (latvia), alexander kamelhair (USA), laura lammert (finland), johanne kirketerp nielsen (denmark), sonia sobrino ralston (canada), lukas scheidegger (switzerland), liina soosaar (estonia), gudmar söderin (sweden), asia valencic (italy), wenzel witt-dörring (austria)

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