Location: Oslo
Client: Oslo Badstuforening
Status: Completed July 2021
Typology: Sauna complex
Area: 90m²
Role: Architects
Team: Armelle Breuil
Collaboration: Borhaven Arkitekter, Fjord Ingeniører
Carpenters: Jonas Garson, Basil Gysi
Environmental approach: Re-use – among other windows from the old Drøbak Sykehjem
Pictures: Becky Zeller

Bademaschinen is inspired by the Sjøbadehus – sort of a classic sea bath houses- with their traditional roof shapes, towers and spires. Sea bathes were popular public health services in the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, before the inner Oslo fjord became too polluted for swimming. The sauna is our first experimentation with re-used materials.

The project consists of two saunas oriented towards the Opera and Hovedøya, respectively, and two towers with changing rooms, diving spot and access from Langkaia. The different elements form a small square where a fire is lit in the winter.

Bademaschinen was designed and executed as a turnkey contract in collaboration with Fjord Ingeniører AS and Borhaven Arkitekter. While the ambition of the project was to experiment with reused materials, we quickly realised that opportunities for reuse of building materials are currently quite limited in Norway. While we were in contact with the few entrepreneurs dealing with re-use materials, the timeframe for building -five months for both planning and building- was so tight that we faced challenges with material access and storage space. We looked at the possibility of getting materials from houses to be demolished ourselves. In addition, we have searched for, and received tips on, materials sold at Finn. Collection of recycled materials is time consuming as one needs to map the material, check the compatibility, store it and transport it and eventually treat it.

We therefore settled on using Royal impregnated timber for the support structure and roof. The exterior walls nevertheless consist of recycled teak windows taken from Grande Nursing Home where glass panels have been replaced with oiled plywood.

We think that the process around Bademaschinen points in the direction of a method: to let the final form of the building be shaped by the materials instead of the other way around. The project is a first step in exploring how we can work with re-use in Norway.