Floating Sauna in Soomaa Forests

Soomaa Floating Sauna, New Architecture in Estonia Forest, Workshop 2017

Floating Sauna in Soomaa Forests

Estonian Academy of Arts Interior Architecture Department Architectural Workshop

22 Nov 2017

Soomaa Forests Floating Sauna

Floating wilderness sauna built by students in Soomaa

Design: students with Sami Rintala, Pavle Stamenovic & b210

VALA – Float your way to a sauna

A floating wilderness sauna built by students awaits visitors in Soomaa

VALA Sauna opening in August, photos Mari Hunt:

Floating wilderness sauna built by students in Soomaa

Floating wilderness sauna bathing students in Soomaa

Floating wilderness sauna female bathing students in Soomaa

Floating wilderness sauna women bathing students in Soomaa

Floating sauna students in Soomaa

In the middle of one the largest national parks in Estonia, Soomaa (literally meaning ‘swamp land’ in Estonian) a new attraction awaits visitors – a floating wilderness sauna built by students during an international summer school.

VALA sauna photos Tõnu Tunnel:

VALA Floating Sauna in Soomaa Forests Estonia

VALA Floating Sauna in Soomaa Forests Estonia

The sauna is called VALA (‘pour’ in English) and derives its name from the built-in shower facility that gathers rainwater falling on the roof. Tutored by architect and artist Sami Rintala (Finland), head of the Estonian Academy of Arts (EAA) Interior Architecture department Hannes Praks and Estonian architecture office b210, students built the sauna as a response to the changing and challenging environment of the area.

VALA Floating Sauna in Soomaa Forests Estonia

VALA Floating Sauna in Soomaa Forests Estonia

According to the initiator of the summer school, professor Hannes Praks, a sauna makes a good research and design project for students to tackle, because sauna is layered and interesting space, 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 of Soomaa at least once a year, creating a new, unusual world.”

VALA Floating Sauna in Soomaa Forests Estonia VALA Floating Sauna in Soomaa Forests Estonia

Praks also points out that today’s educational system doesn’t offer enough collective challenges when it comes to spatial design education, seeing this as something to be changed in the process of educating spatial designers.

VALA Floating Sauna in Soomaa Forests Estonia

VALA Floating Sauna in Soomaa Forests Estonia

The EEA Interior Architecture department’s international Summer School returned in 2017 for a second instalment. Last year, the Summer School team ended up building floating object Veetee, a project that consisted of three floating structures – a shelter, a fireplace and a also sauna. Last year only two of the three objects were opened to the public as part of local forest infrastructure however – the sauna did not persist the testing, and sunk to the watery depths.

VALA Floating Sauna in Soomaa Forests Estonia

This year the students overcame the elements and now the floating wilderness sauna is enjoying its first visitors as of this autumn.

Floating Sauna Soomaa Forest

The Summer School took the students to Soomaa, an area of large bogs and forests, where the tutors led the team to design and build from scratch an object that would derive from the special conditions that the Soomaa area faces: it floods extensively at least once a year, with vast areas of forest and meadows submerged, making floating architecture a fitting choice.

Floating Sauna Soomaa Forest

According to the tutors, building a sauna embraces both architecture, interior architecture, construction physics, various climatic and cultural aspects, thus providing a great opportunity to introduce to the international participants of the summer school an important typology in Nordic culture: one that has been present in the lives of Estonians throughout history, from birth to death.

Floating Sauna Soomaa Forest

Floating Sauna Soomaa Forest

Floating Sauna Soomaa Forest

Floating Sauna Soomaa Forest

The sauna ritual is intertwined with water – in this case, taking people directly onto the Soomaa streams which at least once a year floods the roads, meadows and yards of Soomaa, creating an unusual, a new world.

Floating Sauna Soomaa Forest

Floating Sauna Soomaa Forest

Floating Sauna Soomaa Forest

Floating Sauna Soomaa Forest

The sauna will remain open for free public use and the site is maintained by the Estonian Forest Management Centre. The sauna is intended both for local people as well as visitors to the area and visitors are kindly asked to heat the sauna carefully and sensibly, whilst being aware of the heater once it is hot.

In addition to Veetee, VALA follows the EEAs Interior Architecture department’s various student projects, of which the most notable are the forest megaphones RUUP.

VALA Sauna building process photos Hannes Praks:
Floating Sauna in Soomaa Forests

Floating Sauna in Soomaa Forests

Floating Sauna in Soomaa Forests

More about the project: https://www.ekasisearhitektuur.ee/projects/vala-sauna/

VEETEE Floating Structures in Soomaa Forests images / information from Interior Architecture and Furniture Design Department of the Estonian Academy of Arts

Soomaa Forests Floating Structures
Design: students with Sami Rintala, Pavle Stamenovic & b210
Floating Structures Estonia
photos © Brigita Kasperaite

Soomaa Forests Floating Structures


To see all listed projects on a single map please follow this link.




Sami Rintala Architect on e-architect

19 Sep 2016
Tallinn Architecture Biennale TAB 2017 Installation Programme

Tallinn Architecture Biennale TAB 2017
photo : Tõnu Tunnel

Tallinn Architecture Biennale TAB 2017

Tallinn Architecture Biennale

Tallinn Architecture Biennale 2011
New Estonian Architecture
photo : Martin Melioranski

Estonian Centre of Architecture www.arhitektuurikeskus.ee

New Estonian Architecture Exhibition
‘BOOM/ROOM’, Moscow
Pärnu Central Library
photo : Kaido Haagen
New Estonian Architecture Exhibition

Sami Rintala Designs

Featured Buildings by Architect Sami Rintala

Floating Sauna, Hardangerfjord, Norway
Casagrande & Rintala
Floating Sauna
photo : Sami Rintala

Floating Sauna

Seljord Workshop, Telemark county South Norway
Seljord Fishing point
photo : Sami Rintala
Seljord Buildings

Seljord Watchtower, Telemark, Norway
Seljord Watchtower Norway
photo : Dag Jenssen
Seljord Watchtower

Tree Hotel, north east Sweden
Rintala Eggertsson Architects
Tree Hotel Sweden
image from architect

Tree Hotel Sweden

Indian Hut Workshop, Kanataka, India
Indian Hut Project
photo from architect
Indian Hut Workshop

Boxhome, Oslo, Norway
Boxhome Oslo
photo : Sami Rintala
Boxhome – prototype built for Gallery ROM, Oslo

Cabinet Home, Rome, Italy
Sami Rintala / Rinchard Barriteau
Cabinet Home Rome
image from architects
Cabinet Home

Forest Observatory, Kirishima Open Air Museum, Kyushu Island, Japan
Forest Observatory Japan
photo : Sami Rintala
Forest Observatory

Hotel Kirkenes, Kirkenes, North Norway
Hotel Kirkenes Norway
photo : Jan Erik Svendsen
Hotel Kirkenes Norway

Post Industrial Meditation Park, Nakasato Village, Niigata prefecture, Japan
Casagrande & Rintala
Post Industrial Meditation Park
photo : Sami Rintala
Post Industrial Meditation Park – project for Echigo Tsumari Art Triennial 2003

Safe Haven Orphanage, Ban Tha Song Yang, Thailand
Safe Haven Orphanage
photo : Pasi Aalto / Tyin Tegnestue
Safe Haven Orphanage

C-Lab
Public Attic
photo : Yehia Eweis

Estonian Architecture




Estonian Architecture

Academy of Arts, Tallinn
Architects: Mikou Design Studio
Tallinn New Academy of Arts
picture from architect

Tallinn New Academy of Arts

Tallinn City Hall
Design: BIG
Tallinn City Hall
picture from architect

Tallinn City Hall

Estonian Architecture Competition : Vabaduse Square

Developments in countries close to Estonia
Russian Buildings
Latvian Architecture
Belarus Buildings
Lithuanian Architecture

Comments / photos for the Floating Sauna in Soomaa Forests page welcome

Floating Sauna in Soomaa Forests : page

Website: Soomaa National Park