Black Box Sauna
This backyard sauna is made of pine, fir, and cedar sourced locally from Moscow Mountain (5 miles away). The solid fir structure is constructed out of stacked four by six’s, secured to one another with long self-tapping timber screws. This structure rises up on an elevated foundation, allowing it to be accessed from an existing deck. After the primary shell was assembled, the whole structure received two skins. The first is on the inside in the heater room, is applied everywhere a body might touch the wall. This skin is made of one inch thick, wide clear cedar planks. The second skin is an exterior rainscreen. The rainscreen is made of pine, which is treated with the Japanese technique of Shou Sugi Ban (charred wood) to protect it from the elements. The inset panel at the entry (also a rainscreen), is an exception to this treatment: it is finished with a pine-tar/linseed oil mix, providing a softer more uniform appearance at another key intersection with the human body. Each of these three skin conditions has its own aromatic signature, and the overlapping of these with the hot/cold cycling of the sauna bath itself form the essence of this sensual experience. Other design considerations that shaped the project: the roof holds rainwater to support a native grass garden; and the shower drain diverts to a grey water retention garden to the northwest of the sauna building.