ARCHITECTURE: Steaming hot sauna architecture
There are as many saunas in Finland as there are private cars: around 3.2 million each. The new Löyly is, however, one of a kind: a public sauna that is easily accessible even to the tourist. Meanwhile, a harbour bath, Allas, opens in central Helsinki.
The wooden architecture alone is worth the visit to Löyly. The nine-metre tall building by Avanto Architects has many interesting and demanding solutions. The design is by architects Ville Hara and Anu Puustinen.
—The building consists of two parts: the clear-cut warm building and a surrounding wooden structure known as “Hulmu”. A wooden terrace and a small lookout are on top. The building creates a large stand overlooking the sea, describes Hara.
The outer structure that gives the building its form is of wood. The surface material is made of glue-treated
energy wood by drying and compressing. The outside material is heat-treated Scots pine. The inner walls are made of veneer production left-overs, reused wood with a sustainable forestry FSC certificate.
The power duo behind the sauna, due to open in Hernesaari in July, is Antero Vartia and Jasper Pääkkönen. Vartia is a member of the parliament for the Greens and the owner of the popular Mattolaituri café, while Pääkkönen is an actor, an avid fly-fisher and also an active forespeaker for the Baltic salmon.
Antero Vartia admits the project has not been an easy one. He doubts that they would have taken up the endeavour had they understood how demanding it should turn to be.
—When you do get a chance to build on such a unique and priceless site you have to cease the moment. Our goal was to build as impressive a structure as we could, never to be cost-efficient. The building will be a part of Helsinki for the next century and therefore it has to be of good quality and its architecture impressive, Varia says.
Löyly includes a traditional sauna and a smoke sauna. Stairs take you for a dip in the sea. The Baltic Sea
is always cool so there is not much of a difference in temperature between winter and summer. If a sauna bath seems too exotic it is perfectly alright to enjoy the maritime feel on the terrace. The 600-seating terrace on the water is the biggest in town.
The city and nature meet in Löyly. I do hope that Löyly will become a round-the-year living room for Helsinkians. And yes, you do bathe in swimming-suits, Vartia promises.
Swim! Sauna! Bathe!
Allas Sea Pool by the Market Square revives the old Helsinki spa culture: swimming, sauna bathing and long conversations. By the end of June the beach and cafés will be ready at the foot of Sky- Wheel Helsinki. The saunas, floating piers and pools will be finished by August and it is time for bathing in the sea.
—Allas also symbolises Helsinki’s commitment to enhancing the condition of the Baltic Sea, says Pekka Sauri, Deputy Mayor for Public Works and Environmental Affairs.
The area has been designed by the Helsinki-based Huttunen Lipasti Pakkanen Architects. Crowdfunding is behind 800,000 euros of the nine million budget of the building of the pool, and the site will be complete by 2017.
Hietaranta has the most popular beach volleyball court in Helsinki. The beach is reached by bus number 24. Hiekkarannantie 11.