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A building sunk in fog. Project of the saunarium in Cieplice Slaskie-Zdrój.

16 of June '23

Fascinated by Finland and the sauna culture there, {tag:studenci} from the Opole University of Technology decided to create a facility referring to the Finnish tradition in... Cieplice Śląskie-Zdrój. Her proposal is a secluded space, blending in with the surroundings, where guests can relax and calm their senses. An additional variety is the building's interactivity—steam changing the facade.

The project was created as an engineering thesis under the direction of Dr. Anna Grajper-Dobiesz.

My idea was based on an analysis of the historical forms of saunas changing over the centuries, and goes back to the roots of the Finnish tradition of taking a sauna, which has long had a special significance in Finnish culture. It is considered a place of purification of the soul and body. The sauna's uniqueness lies in the Finnish people's special belief in löyly translated as „spirit” or „life force,” which makes it a sacred place. Both the löyly and the rising smoke above the traditional savusauna (smoke sauna) set the stage for the use of interactive architecture methods, explains Wiktoria Maciejewska.

Widok na saunarium z lotu ptaka

bird's eye view of the sauna

© Wiktoria Maciejewska

building submerged in fog

To create a mysterious, sensual space, the author used fog, in which the building „disappears”. The boundary with the surroundings is then blurred, and steam constantly forms the ambiguous shape of the sauna.

Plan zagospodarowania terenu Saunarium znajduje się w okolicach Parku Norweskiego

The sauna is located near the Norwegian Park

© Wiktoria Maciejewska

The main idea of interactive art is that the viewer should be an active participant. He did not just watch and admire, but lived and experienced the work, so the interactive pair used is aimed at sensing the architecture and actively participating in the creation of the external form of the designed object," explains the student.

Schemat elewacji interaktywnej

diagram of the interactive facade

© Wiktoria Maciejewska

The intensity of the resulting fog will depend on the number of sauna-goers staying around the building. This treatment is intended to create a private space, isolated from the Norwegian Park opposite. The steam does not close off views of the surrounding landscape, but obscures users, allowing them to be comfortable from the sauna.

Rzut i schemat funkcjonalny saunarium

plan and functional diagram of the sauna

© Wiktoria Maciejewska

organic forms and reference to tradition

The proposed sauna is a public facility with recreational and health functions. On a two-wing projection, the author has separated several functional zones. The women's sauna zone and the men's sauna zone are areas where the wearing of swimwear is prohibited. In turn, the common sauna zone, along with the mixed sauna and the viewing and relaxation terrace, are areas open to the public, where swimwear will be obligatory.

Projekt saunarium w Cieplicach Śląskich-Zdroju, idea projektu

sauna project in Cieplice Śląskie-Zdrój, the idea of the project

© Wiktoria Maciejewska

The sauna'srounded form reflects the curved lines of the plot and alludes to the mountainous terrain of Cieplice Śląskie-Zdrój. It is also a reference to historical saunas in the form of heated pits, whose roof was covered with young trees and twigs, and whose bottom was lined with stones. The student chose to preserve the natural surroundings—wild grasses reminiscent of her Finnish nature. The designed building has a single story, which does not overshadow the landscape qualities and easily blends into the surroundings.

Wnętrze sauny damskiej

interior of the women's sauna

© Wiktoria Maciejewska

The interior of the designed building features an atrium conducive to contemplation. The author wanted it to resemble the form of a cave-sauna, which can accommodate fourteen people.

Projekt saunarium w Cieplicach Śląskich-Zdroju, przekrój A-A

Project of the sauna in Cieplice Slaskie-Zdrój, cross-section A-A

© Wiktoria Maciejewska

She designed two artificial water reservoirs around it, reminiscent of a Finnish ice lake for cooling off after a sauna session. Meanwhile, the use of a glass roof in the common areas of the building is meant to visually connect the building's interior with the surroundings.

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