While San Francisco residents may some day be able to soak in a crowdfunded shipping container day spa, in Seattle it’s all about shvitzing in floating wooden huts.
An intriguing new concept that Seattle-based goCstudio plans to take to Kickstarter in the near future, wa_sauna
is a small communal sauna merrily bobbing along in the shadows of Husky Stadium on Union Bay, a section of Lake Washington that’s certainly no stranger to floating structures: the ailing, chronically congested Evergreen Point Bridge — the longest floating bridge in the world at 7,580 feet — crosses the southern section of the bay as it carries SR 520 across the lake from Seattle to the Eastside suburbs. (As for Seattle’s iconic floating homes
, those are predominately located on the other side of the Montlake Cut in Lake Union’s Portage Bay.)
Accessible by kayak and anchored in a “popular spot” within close proximity to the University of Washington, goCStudio envisions the floating sweat-shack to be a new kind of wellness-minded hangout where Seattlites can sooth sore muscles after a jog through the nearby arboretum, bid adieu to toxins while catching a beautiful Pacific Nothwest sunset, catch up with old friends (or meet new ones — Lisbeth Salander, is that you?) and, most of all, enjoy a “relaxing and reinvigorating experience out on the water.”
Positioned on top of 55 gallon floatation barrels, the volume incorporates a timber deck supported by aluminum frames. The interior features clear Alaskan yellow cedar panels with rows of seating facing an efficient wood burning stove. The stacked structure also consists of a roof deck with a diving board that can be accessed by an external ladder. The back of the sauna space has a cool-down hatch that can be lifted to allow air to circulate through the space.
It’s a lovely concept that I can see getting plenty of action during both mild summer evenings and a grey and drizzly afternoons in October — the moody renderings of the sauna somehow make Seattle's famously gloomy overcast skies look, well, attractive. I could also picture a small colony of these simple floating wooden saunas clustered together to form a buoyant bathhouse of sorts. For a full-Finish experience, an onshore pontoon with a vodka bar would be a nice touch — just watch out for the buzzed kayaker wearing nothing but a giant grin and a towel around his waist.
Aside from checking out additional imagery of the wa_sauna — if the funding goal is met should be docked in Union Bay and open for sweats later this year — it’s worth reading up on past goCStudio project including 2012’s “Spirit Pavilion
,” the second place winner in the Transforming Seattle’s 520 Floating Bridg
e design competition. Aside from pontoon-based installations and floating saunas, firm co-founders Jon Gentry and Aimée O’Carroll, both formerly of Olson Kundig
, come equipped with diverse design backgrounds that extend well beyond the shores of Lake Washington: Gentry is a partner and designer with the repurposed cardboard lamp wizards
while O’Carroll is an alumna of Auburn University’s Rural Studio
where she was part of a small team that designed and built 2008's 20K Loft House
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