The Finnish Rooftop Sauna was born thanks to a collaboration by Aalto University and Southbank Centre and it is designed and implemented by its MA students. Pedro Pablo Garcia Alcazar, Markus Holste, Monica Romagnoli and Miki Sordi designed it, with the help of the Finnish sculptor Jaakko Pernu.
The sauna located on the Queen Elizabeth Hall roof terrace in Southbank, London is an interesting sample of Finnish design skills, combining architecture and art.
The sauna was been open during this past winter.
Professor Pentti Kareoja from Aalto University said: “It is a tremendous honour for Aalto University and Finland to get an invitation to design and implement a project like this on such a visible and risky location in the middle of London.”
“It was even more challenging to design a sauna, that is often seen as a synonym for Finnishness. The sauna has a huge amount of symbolism and different expectations. It is particularly gratifying that our students have, for the centennial of our independence, interpreted the subject with empathy and courage to re-interpret the traditions”.
The main concept for this Finnish rooftop sauna was to create a bright and warm landmark for London’s winter nights.
Its architecture is based on a wooden frame structure which is repeated. Structure is made with wooden beams and covered with translucent polycarbonate plates that are illuminated.
The interior program follows the sauna rituals, starts with the locker rooms and bathrooms. But as you would assume, it ends with a common sauna in the middle of the building where their users can face each other.
The Finnish rooftop sauna is part of a Nordic Matters exhibition that is taking place in the Southbank Centre. It raises awareness in them, that are well-known as the most livable societies and involved in social change.
Southbank Centre presents what’s happening in Nordic art and culture. Nordic Matters exhibition has chosen interesting topics and phenomena from the Nordic countries to explore for over a year.
Southbank Centre is a world-famous, multi-venue arts centre in London, with a year-round festivals programme. It is the UK’s largest arts centre, founded with the Festival of Britain in 1951. The festival programme encompasses art, theatre, dance, classical and contemporary music, literature and debate. It reaches 6.25 million people a year and encompasses over 5,000 events featuring world-class artists from across the globe.
Photographies by Valentina Casalini