Architecture Monday

Thinking of relaxation, recently I went looking for saunas, and didn’t expect to find this little gem near(ish) my hometown, on the shores of the Georgian Bay!

There’s a great number of juxtapositions and sweet attention to detail that really makes this work. For starters, the exterior is this very handsome box, dead simple in form but deliciously rendered in worn wooden siding while also being nestled into the glacier-scraped rockface just hovering above the water line.  And so while it’s sharp corners and straight lines are definitively not of the natural landscape it nevertheless fits in quite well, a compliment to the whole and to the horizon.  Placed cut stones near the approach further help to unify the box into the landscape while providing the structure’s roof as a deck.

Inside, the straight lines and dark wood turn into blond cedar that forms an amorphic and cozy grotto.  Gracefully shaped, skylights and windows, benches and the sauna stones themselves all flow seamlessly into each other.  Precision shaped, the wood grain was precisely aligned so that the individual panels all unify as though carved from a single piece of wood (or as though carved directly into the cliff face).  With a view out to the bay, the trees, and the sunsets beyond, it really fits the idea for “a quiet spot of retreat and relaxation”.

Splendidly done.

The Grotto Sauna by Partisans Architecture

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