Sauna – Now Office for Architecture and Urbanism

Sauna

Sauna

Sauna

Sauna

Sauna

Sauna

Sauna

Sauna

Sauna

Sauna

Sauna

Sauna

On our recent trip to Finland we went to visit Tuomas Toivonen and Nene Tsuboi of Now for Architecture and Urbanism in their sauna in Helsinki, on the harbour’s edge. Tuomas is an architect and Nene a graphic designer. They have run a critical practice in parallel with teaching and were frustrated at the opportunities to build the possibilities they were talking about. So they decided on direct action – to make a project themselves that embodied their urban critique and form the basis of their practice. The number of public saunas in Helsinki had dwindled from around three hundred to three. They have built the fourth. It also holds a small office from which they run their practice and a studio where they run workshops for visiting students (at the moment from Carleton University on Canada). They also run the sauna, taking pleasure (so far) in the routine of lighting the fire, washing all the towels and all the other tasks (such as cutting a hole in the ice to plunge into the harbour after time in the sauna – see Tuomas in the bottom picture)  that make the place run. THey do not hire any help, so they are captive to the project. They have built on the corner of a green space not he edge of the harbour that was designated as the site for a public building such as a cafe when he area was developed in the seventies, but nothing was ever made there. They take care with all aspects while running the sauna – the music, for instance, is mostly restricted to the early recordings of Caruso taken from the soundtrack to Werner Herzog’s 1982 film Fitzcarraldo.  They also took care with sourcing the materials and tickling them through the building control process. You can get the details here: www.kulttuurisauna.fi

 

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