Rocky knob sauna : Design build
On a remote mountain farm in West Virginia a series of rudimentary saunas had been constructed since the late 1970’s. Each iteration advanced the relative permanence of the structure. Unfortunately, the last iteration burned down a quarter century after the first. For another 15 years, the site - at the edge of a spring fed pond - lay dormant, setting the stage for another generation to reimagine the sauna.
This time around, the project emerged as a research driven design/build. Blending students, professionals and craftsman throughout the process, this sauna became an experimental undertaking where participants learned by doing.
Upper Tract, West Virginia
Benches at the perfect leaning angle
Beautiful view of the pond
Without access to heavy machinery and equipment all aspects of the work were completed manually or with small transportable power tools.
typologies in ritual sweating
As part of the design process the team researched sauna traditions throughout the world. This research directly impacted the design of the sauna which abstractly references those traditions while simultaneously reflecting vernacular farm outbuildings from the region. These references are evident in the structures form, craft and materiality.