The exhibition presents a selection of the most interesting Czech and international creations, introduces different typological examples and practices, such as the concrete sauna in Germany by Modulorbeat, the glass sauna in Estonia by Architectural Bureau Pluss, the underground sauna in the middle of an apple orchard near Bolzano by noa* and the sauna in the middle of Liberec Dam by Mjölk architekti from the Czech Republic.
“Saunas. Wellness architecture”
18 January 2017 – 10 March 2017
Jaroslav Fragner Gallery
Betlémské nám. 169/5a
110 00 Praha-Staré Město
The H3T studio, headed by Vít Šimek, and leading Czech promoter of sauning, Jiří Kouba, as well as the significant Czech company of Dyntar, are engaged in the production of original saunas of extraordinary quality, and are all involved in the exhibition concept. Thanks to this interdisciplinary collaboration, visitors will have the opportunity to experience the beneficial effects of the sauning process right in the JFG, where two unusual saunas will be installed, with additional accompanying programmes .
The project aims to introduce the phenomenon of the sauna from two perspectives: as a relaxing process, as well as the possibility of quality experimental architecture. Visitors will learn about the past history as well as the present times. Future investors will possibly also find inspiration here.
In the past, a public spa was an important venue for social contact. It not only offered an environment for relaxation and sport, but also for political discussions, business meetings, as well as indulgence. In Scandinavia and elsewhere, the sauna is still such a meeting point today. It is a place where people relax, contemplate, meet others and talk about life.
In the case of sauna architecture, can form follow function? Although saunas as an architectural product are not always featured on the front pages of architectural magazines, they form an important segment of construction and architectural production. The sauna is increasingly becoming an interesting theme for experimenting with typology and functionality within architectural practice. Abroad, discussion is quite often led by prominent European architects (among others, Rintala Eggertsson Architects and the Oslo School of Architecture) on the basis of student workshops.
Sauning also has a long tradition in the Czech Republic and can be dated back to the golden era of Czech medieval spas operating during the reign of Wenceslas IV. Spas have always been associated with quality architecture and many leading architects have participated in the design of interesting implementations for sporting, curative, cleansing and relaxing activities. Thanks to this tradition and many experimental projects inspired by foreign creations, we can visit numerous interesting, and mostly low-budget structures. Perhaps we can also talk about the Czech alternative way, thanks to the H3T studio, which has earned a strong position in the whole of Europe.
It is characteristic that many significant buildings in this segment originated in countries where quality architecture flourishes – Finland, Norway, Austria. Countries where dialogue is conducted, where the genius loci of the landscape matters, where there is the effort and support of sustainable architecture, and where, among other issues, exciting architectural gestures are discussed.
The sauna can also be an important community and social platform, such as in Sandhornøy in northern Norway (the largest sauna in the world was created within the project of the SALT nomadic festival) and the Loyly Public Sauna Complex in Helsinki. However, it can also contribute to the revitalisation of brownfields. Another example is the metal cathedral by the Berlin-based Raumlabor architects, created within the special “Bathing Culture” project to revive the old Göteborg docks.