Remember that snazzy floating communal sauna concept for Seattle that I shared back in February?
Aimée O’Carroll and Jon Gentry of architecture firm goCstudio have made good on a promise to further flesh out and refine their free, kayak-accessible sweat-shack — "a unique experience and refuge in the water that would offer a new perspective on the landscape" — and, after six months of development, have returned with a crowdfunding campaign to help make it a reality.
Earlier this week, the duo (both Olson Kundig vets) launched a Kickstarter campaign complete with additional renderings, a look at a 3D scale model and a beautifully produced promo video (embedded below) with enough stunning Seattle-in-the-summertime footage to make a native like myself a little misty-eyed. O'Carroll and Genry's goal is to raise $43,000; these funds would be used directly "towards the design, fabrication, and project management to build the floating sauna." If fully funded, construction on Seattle's most breathtaking shvitz spot — the concept was launched with the name "wa_sauna" — would commence in spring 2015 with an anticipated summer completion date.
We imagine people kayaking out to the structure and tying off. The design has a deck, a wood-fired sauna, and a roof platform for canon balls! The rear ladder connects the water, dock, and roof platform. The 'cool down hatch' allows hot and sweaty visitors a chance to open the back door and cold plunge directly into the water!
The sauna is designed to fit on a standard size trailer. It can be transported and launched into any accessible still body of water, and when not in use, parked and stored on land.
In addition to some cost effectiveness-minded tweaks to the original design in terms of size and materials, the sauna's fully mobile nature is also a bit of a change from the initial vision in which O'Carroll and Gentry had envisioned wa_sauna as being more or less a permanent fixture in a "popular spot" on Union Bay near the University of Washington campus. Due in part to potential permitting headaches, the duo aims to launch the sauna as a proper vessel instead of a recreational dock.
O'Carroll explains in an email that "it is notoriously hard to permit floating docks here at the moment and we want the flexibility to move the sauna to other lakes / bodies of water and not worry about permitting in each place. The sauna is also designed so it can be towed out of the water so a permanent mooring isn't needed, it can live on the back of a trailer and essentially be parked."
Makes perfect sense.
As for the Kickstarter campaign, there are, of course, various perks awaiting those who help to fund the project including beach towels, tote bags and stainless steel Kleen Kanteen cups with matching koozies — all are stamped with the wa_sauna logo. Funders starting at the $20 level will even get their name wood-burned into the sauna itself.
Head on over to wa_sauna’s Kickstarter campaign page to learn more and to help fund the project. As I've said previously, I think it's a lovely concept that I can see getting plenty of action during both mild summer evenings and grey and drizzly afternoons in October — the moody renderings of the sauna somehow make Seattle's famously gloomy overcast skies look, well, attractive. I can also picture a small colony of these simple floating wooden saunas clustered together to form a buoyant bathhouse of sorts.
Seattleites: Any thoughts?
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