LocationMārupe, Mārupes novads, LV-2167, Latvia
Architects in ChargeReinis Salins, Anita Apele
Text description provided by the architects. The two main factors which defined the choice of building perimeter and placement were the maximum allowed building area of 25m 2 as well as the legislative distance from the neighboring properties and the existing residential buildings. The exterior perimeter of the sauna building is strictly bound by the aforementioned restrictions. The diverse building context of Mārupe does not allow for a classic sauna design, therefore, the exterior image of the building was purposefully designed as an object in the corner of the garden - modest looking and distant from the surrounding environment.
In order to trigger an emotional adventure and create an illusion of a spacious room, proven and tested design principles were applied. For example, the building geometry together with the carefully crafted interior connections create clean planes. Each plane is bounded by at least one edge thus allowing it to enter the outdoor space. This approach does not obscure the view and alters the actual size of the space.
The second principle is to work with two spaces at a time instead of dividing them into functional groups or focusing on them individually. The two spaces complement each other and generate spatial as well as visual interaction, thus sharing common architectural values. Being in one of the other room provides a balanced, unified experience. The second advantage of working with room couples is the ability to create different characters for rooms with different functionalities. For example, one can enjoy an unobstructed view through the lounge room's window while resting in the with warm, wooden sauna room. However, the window seen from the bath is facing the other side of the yard. Moreover, this room features cold glass and stone elements which distance one from the sauna room and create a completely different and functionally corresponding spatial character.
The concept of the building reflects the core functionality of sauna, namely, the contrast between hot and cold as an analogy of Axis Mundi (the connection between Heaven and Earth) which accommodates all four classical elements: water (pool), fire (sauna), air (skylight) and earth (lounge). The use of skylight was inspired by the significant changes in temperature when leaving the sauna room. The skylight, as well as the two yard-facing windows, create the illusion of refreshing outdoor space. What emphasizes the notion of Axis Mundi is a conflux of seven interior planes challenging the purity of the details.