The Wool Sauna building is the only sauna of its kind in Latvia. The building is the latest addition to the Ziedlejas Wellness resort and, while it is an intrinsic part of the resort, is also self-sufficient. The stilted building sits on a hilltop at a distance from the resort's other saunas and overnight cabins. Guests enter the Wool Sauna via a scenographic wooden walkway. The winding path encourages looking inward and helps tune the mind for the ritual.
Concealed in the black timber facade is a yurt-like canvas structure - the actual sauna room – which was bought as a ready-made facility. Open AD's challenge was to “dress” it and tie it in with the overall Ziedlejas story.
The walkway leads into the 67 m2 wooden structure. Here, bespoke furniture assists in getting ready, storing clothes and personal items without creating clutter. Open AD considered the wellbeing of saunagoers and the sauna masters who facilitate the experience. Where possible, the architecture and design team introduced elements to enhance the ritual. For example, during breaks from the heat guests can lie on a giant outdoor hammock, bathing in the refreshing forest air. Since there is no natural body of water nearby, Open AD introduced a plunge pool within metres of the sauna room.
Inside the sauna room, the walls are clad in wool, which is a borrowed tradition not typical of Latvia. When hot, the wool releases lanolin, which is said to have healing properties. Because of this added dimension, the room is round, centred around a wood stove. Again, custom furniture answers to guests’ and sauna masters’ needs during the body and mind cleansing ritual.
The Wool Sauna’s material palette of wood, concrete, metal, and natural fabrics connects it to the other parts of Ziedlejas – its overnight cabins, the Glass Sauna and Smoke Sauna buildings. The resort is a work in progress but has the long-term goal of becoming a self-sufficient destination. It’s founded and designed with the idea to encourage rest, rejuvenation, and guests’ connection to themselves, loved ones and their surroundings.
Team: Zane Tetere – Sulce, Beatrise Dzerve
Construction: Valdis Stepanovics, Kaspars Strazdins
Suppliers: Kadiki ARV (sauna stove), Priezavoti (timber), Tikkurila (paints), Karuzo (wood details), Lidulula Ceramics (accessories), Archouses (furniture)