The sauna cottage is situated on a lakeside cliff shore in Central Finland. We wanted to preserve the natural surroundings in their untouched state, so we conducted a detailed survey of the site’s trees and rocks before drawing up the design. To adapt to the terrain, a narrow building was chosen so that no trees had to be felled or boulders moved.
The building rests on the borderline between forest and lake shore. Its structures frame the views of the lake and its large windows conduct the views deep into the building.
The sauna is at the head of the building. Its corner windows open onto the lake, toward the sunset. The living room lies in the middle of the cottage, and above this is a sleeping loft. The generous room height and large windows lend a sense of spaciousness.
Access to the rooms is via the terrace, making efficient use of the cottage’s 20 m² area. The storeroom serves as a summer kitchen, and the terrace connects directly with the surrounding nature.
All building materials were brought to the site by boat. The log frame was transported to the site without the use of heavy machinery, keeping the site’s natural environment unspoiled. Interior work was carried out using simple hand tools and methods.
The log frame and dovetailing were built and cut by hand. As timber frames typically require all corners to be solid, the frame was fastened to the terrace, floor and roof structures to enable installation of the sauna’s corner windows.
The sauna cottage is in year-round use. There is no electricity or running water. The cottage’s wood-fired stove heats the living areas, even in temperatures of minus 20°C within about three hours. The spectrally selective window traps solar heat, and ceiling level ventilation windows provide gravitational ventilation.
Project in brief
Nokka Sauna Cottage
- Location | Hankasalmi
- Purpose | Summer house
- Total area | 20 m2
- Architectural Design | Monika Gardini and Mika Kurth
- Pääurakoitsija | Suomalainen Hirsikoulu, Leppävesi
- Photographs | Heikki Rautio, Monika Gardini and Mika Kurth
- Text | Monika Gardini and Mika Kurth