A Kickstarter-funded motorized floating sauna will provide an unusual retreat for Seattle residents this year.
Floating architecture has been going strong: What may have seemed like a gimmick only a few years ago has become a celebrated, imagination-inspiring, Zeitgest-y gimmick.
London has been looking at Amsterdam for solutions to its housing problems, with Floating Homes Ltd even proposing a number of buoyant housing options for those squeezed in by millionaires, copying the elegant floating houses by BYTR Architects, Framework Architecten, and Studio Prototype. On the other side of the Atlantic, MOS Architects has floated a cabin on Lake Huron, while NLÉ architecture studio has created a floating school on a Nigerian lagoon. AT Design Office have gone one step further, proposing an entire city on water for China. And let us not forget the original Kickstarter floater: the + POOL in New York City.
The wa_sauna (named after Washington state, where Seattle is located) has been built through a combination of donated funds and labor, by goCstudio and friends, and can accommodate up to six lovers of heat and water.
“The purpose of the sauna is to create a place of refuge for locals, to give them a new perspective on their city and provide a space to relax, reflect, and reinvigorate out on the water year round.” So says goCstudio, an architecture firm founded in 2012 by Aimée O’Carroll and Jon Gentry.
The sauna was inspired by the Scandinavian tradition of combining outdoors living with sweating in mid-winter: “we felt it would be a fitting project for Seattle, a city surrounded by water and known for its long winters.”
A prefabricated aluminum frame and marine-grade plywood of this floating box are 240 square feet in area, and 4,500 pounds in weight only. Built for a very modest $20,000, the sauna is powered by an electric trolling motor, which can carry it quietly around the lakes surrounding Seattle, and has an on-board wood burning stove. The cold post-sauna plunge is provided, naturally, by the lake.
GoCstudio is currently working on developing a series of events that will keep the sauna buoyant this summer. Meanwhile, see the slideshow for more images.