Riverside Sauna in Kauttua

Former A. Ahlström’s factory workers’ sauna

Project description:

The sauna, situated at a riverside in Kauttua, was originally designed by the office of Alvar Aalto to be used by the workers of Ahlström’s factory. The building had four saunas with their shower and changing rooms and canteens, and a laundry room in the basement. It also had a small janitor’s apartment. The sauna and laundry room building was completed in 1946. The building is located on a slope by a river. The basement floor is stone-built and partly built underground. A log-frame and originally turf-roofed sauna building is set over it, as if on a pedestal. The basement’s roof acts as a terrace for the saunas. The building represents the romantic-inspired traditional log construction of the 1940s, but spiced with the fine and quite recognizable details of Alvar Aalto. The basement, plastered in white, represents modernism. These features have created a distinctive whole. 

After the restauration, the building still mostly remains in its original purpose of use, now as a sauna that is open for booking. The laundry room in the basement, which was completely remained in its original form with it’s drying cabinets and laundy machines, is now an exhibiton space. From the three original saunas, two still remains. One small sauna and its shower room were converted into a living room with a fireplace. Otherwise, the original floor plan was the base for the renovation. A large part of the original building parts and surface materials had remained, but some needed to be renewed or restored to their assumed original condition. The cladding and benches in the saunas were renewed, as well as the tiling in the two smaller shower rooms. The panelling in the bigger changing room was restored.  Part of the windows and entrance doors were restored to their original forms.  

The log frame is in good condition and did not require any renovation. The roof was renewed and a turf roof restored. Injection of the cracks and patching are planned as renovations for the stone-made part of the building.  

Project info:

Size:700 m2
Original construction date:1945
Principal designer:Minna Lukander
Project architect:Minna Lukander
Building history survey:Minna Lukander