The Koe sauna gives an almost ceremonial importance to the tradition of Finnish sauna and the run between the hot sauna room and the lake. Situated next to the sea on Pihlajasaari, a recreational island off the southern coast of Helsinki. The design is directed toward the open sea view and uses the gently inclined entry stair as a place for resting and taking in views of the sea.
The sauna is divided into two systems of construction. The outer skin is responsible for protection from the rain, snow and wind. It is constructed of cross-laminated spruce panels. The triangular configuration not only gives the building its character but also stabilizes the structural geometry. The inner core is responsible for thermal insulation and air tightness. It is constructed of glue-laminated spruce panels which are stacked in the manner of logs to allow for moisture movement and settling.

Project data

Project completed in June 2012

Architectural Design and Construction: Andrés León Aguilar, Francesca Caldesi, Francesco Cavalli, Isabel Teixeira Sperry Cezar, Ekiñe Ruiz Escribano, Saara Franzelius, Carlos López Gallardo, Michal Gryko, Grace Hall, Uros Kostic, Caroline Moinel, Joseph Postl, Pedro Precedo, Ksenia Rakovskaya, Lauri Salminen, Lorenzo Serra, Truls Stangeland and Miika Ullakko

Instructors: Pekka Heikkinen , Hannu Hirsi, Mikko Merz , Pentti Raiski and Philip Tidwell

Implementation: Helsinki Department of Recreation

Used materials

  • Structural skin – cross laminated spruce
  • Sauna walls and stairs – glue laminated spruce