Sauna Ilo was one of the first architectural projects Ilkka Suppanen completed. The traditional construction process in Finland is to build the sauna first so that people can wash, heat and sleep in it while they build the main house. In essence, the sauna fulfills all basic needs and is, therefore, a social and functional space in Finnish culture. While saunas are culturally revered, they are not intended to be unnecessarily large. With this in mind, Suppanen was challenged to design a space that felt expansive but retained a minimal footprint.
Sauna Ilo occupies 25 square meters and seamlessly integrates into its surrounding landscape. There are three separate areas being the dressing room, the washroom and the sauna, and each is separated by only glass partitions. Steam on the glass creates a natural division when the sauna is in use and the feeling of one vast, welcoming space when it is not.