- Students:Pedro Pablo Garcia Alcazar, Markus Holste, Monica Romagnoli, Miki Sordi
- Collaborators:Saas Instruments, Harvia, Finnish Sauna Society, British Sauna Society, Asko Avonius Foundation
- Sculptor:Jaakko Pernu
- Commission:Southbank Centre
- Tutors:Pentti Kareoja, Ville Kokkonen
- City:Greater London
- Country:United Kingdom
Text description provided by the architects. 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 Finnish Rooftop Sauna is a result of cooperation by Aalto University and Southbank Centre and it is designed and implemented in collaboration with Aalto University MA students Pedro Pablo Garcia Alcazar, Markus Holste, Monica Romagnoli and Miki Sordi, and Finnish sculptor Jaakko Pernu. The sauna is open until December 30th.
"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," says professor Pentti Kareoja from Aalto University. The architecture of the sauna is based on a wooden frame structure which is repeated, thus creating a longitudinally-oriented building suitable for the location.
The structure is covered with translucent polycarbonate plates that are illuminated. The idea was to create a bright landmark for London's winter nights. The interior functions proceed from both ends following the sauna rituals, ending in a common sauna in the middle of the building. Their users can face each other, sculptor Pernu's work and views over the River Thames. The Finnish rooftop sauna is part of a Nordic Matters exhibition in the Southbank Centre. The exhibition raises awareness of the Nordic countries, that has long been ranked as the most livable societies and recognised for being at the forefront of 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. Southbank Centre 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.