wa_sauna

Seattle / United States / 2016

39
39 Love 5,673 Visits Published

wa_sauna is a sauna designed and built to be used on Seattle’s lakes year round. It is a privately owned vessel that can accommodate up to 6 people. The vessel is powered by an electric motor and heated by a wood burning stove. The lake serves as a natural cold plunge after heating up in the sauna. Moored at the north end of Lake Union, wa_sauna typically takes a 2-3 hour round trip around the lake.


Following in the Scandinavian tradition of saunas as a place for gathering, wa_sauna provides a place for Seattle’s community to share a unique experience on the water. goCstudio will be programming events involving wa_sauna over the spring and summer months of 2016.


The idea for the floating sauna was born on a cold and wet winter’s. Combining our love of the water, the relaxing dry heat of saunas, and floating structures, the project began to take shape. We focused on primal concepts of fire, water, and community. We were searching for a way to engage the water surrounding our city, enticing visitors onto the lakes year round. We called this project ‘wa_sauna’ and felt it would be a welcome addition to the Pacific Northwest landscape and its adventurous people.


wa_sauna engages the ideas of journey and discovery; creating a unique experience and refuge on the water that offers a different perspective on the landscape. Boaters and kayakers can venture out and tie off to the surrounding deck, allowing for the sauna tradition to take place on Seattle’s lakes.


The project was funded through the support of the local community and a crowdfunding campaign. In the same spirit of crowdfunding wa_sauna, the project was built by our studio and a team of talented volunteers, all with close connections to the architecture community and unique construction skills. We were generously donated a large space in the production warehouse of Hilliard’s Beer for the fabrication of wa_sauna.


Maneuvering a 14’ high, 4,500lb structure from the warehouse to the public boat ramp and into the water was a challenging process. Towed on 6 steel casters with a 1980 VW Vanagon, we slowly crept along at dawn making the 8 block trip to the boat ramp in just under 3 hours. The contrast of steel casters on rough gravel and pavement to the feeling of this structure gently floating was the most exciting moment of the build process.


wa_sauna can now be seen regularly on Lake Union and Lake Washington. The sauna is a registered vessel, powered by an electric trolling motor with (3) 12-volt batteries and heated by a wood burning stove. Quietly exploring the lakes, wa_sauna allows users to find peace and quiet in the warmth of the sauna, with endless unique views of Seattle and sounds of the fire crackling and the gentle water around them.

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    wa_sauna is a sauna designed and built to be used on Seattle’s lakes year round. It is a privately owned vessel that can accommodate up to 6 people. The vessel is powered by an electric motor and heated by a wood burning stove. The lake serves as a natural cold plunge after heating up in the sauna. Moored at the north end of Lake Union, wa_sauna typically takes a 2-3 hour round trip around the lake. Following in the Scandinavian tradition of saunas as a place for gathering, wa_sauna...

    Project details
    • Year 2016
    • Work finished in 2016
    • Contractor goCstudio, Greg Lewis
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Leisure Centres
    Lovers 39 users