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Yingst Sauna: Empire, MI

This white sod-roofed sauna is part of a 16 acre environmentally friendly family retreat in a beech forest on a small lake in Michigan. There are no electrical, water or fuel support systems for this sauna. It is lit by candles, water is brought with a bucket and the sauna is fueled by wood from fallen trees. The masonry wall provides a soft even heat during the sauna and retains its warmth similar to that of the stones heated by the sauna stove. Masonry walls are white-washed with a cementitious waterproofing membrane on both the interior and exterior. The removed forest floor was transplanted onto the EPDM roof which adds insulation and longevity while connecting it intimately to its surroundings. Custom crafted doors, benches and details provide a pleasant setting for relaxing with a view of the lake through the trees. A swim in the summer, a roll in the snow in winter, is at the door step for the cooling portion of the sauna experience.

David Salmela FAIA practices in Duluth, Minnesota. He has worked in Architecture since 1969 and was presented the AIA Minnesota Gold Medal in December 2008. Recently, the Yingst Pavilion was awarded a 2011 National AIA Small Projects Award and the Bagley Classroom Building an AIA 2012 COTE Top Ten Green Projects Award for the Finest Sustainable Projects in the United States. Overall, David has won over 50 regional and national design awards.

Yingst Sauna (Paul Crosby)

Yingst Sauna (Paul Crosby)

Yingst Sauna Interior (Paul Crosby)


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