Raua sauna is one of three public saunas which are still in use in Tallinn, Estonia. Because of its central location it has been well known and popular throughout its life. Its elegant neighbourhood is famous for its functionalist apartment buildings and is now a protected heritage site.

Project details

Project Raua sauna (public sauna), Estonia
Architect
Kavakava OÜ – Siiri Vallner, Indrek Peil
and Ragnar Pollukivi
Client
Tallinna Kesklinna Valitsus
Facing bricks used Terca Westminster
Clay pavers used Penter pavers Dresden

Raua sauna (public sauna) in Tallinn, Estonia, exterior view

Raua sauna (public sauna) in Tallinn, Estonia © Gert Kasak, Statiiv OÜ

Raua sauna (public sauna) in Tallinn, Estonia, street view

Raua sauna (public sauna) in Tallinn, Estonia © Gert Kasak, Statiiv OÜ

Raua sauna (public sauna) in Tallinn, Estonia - outside view

Raua sauna (public sauna) in Tallinn, Estonia © Gert Kasak, Statiiv OÜ

Raua sauna (public sauna) in Tallinn, Estonia - detail

Raua sauna (public sauna) in Tallinn, Estonia © Gert Kasak, Statiiv OÜ

Raua sauna (public sauna) in Tallinn, Estonia

Raua sauna (public sauna) in Tallinn, Estonia © Kavakava OÜ

Raua sauna (public sauna) in Tallinn, Estonia - before renovation

Raua sauna (public sauna) in Tallinn, Estonia - before renovation © Kavakava OÜ

A building with history

The sauna was built over a period of time: started at 1930´s, it received several additions in the 50´s and 60´s. A further storey was added to the street side. The Pavilion-like building contained a foyer and smaller saunas. The aim of the renovation was to improve the building insulation, to make all of the areas accessible for the disabled and to rebuild the interiors. Because of heavy use and constant humidity, the entire building was in a quite poor state. The older parts were renovated in the original style – a mixture of Art Deco and Functionalism.

Complete transformation

The street side pavilion building underwent the biggest change. It was enclosed by a brick lattice structure to form a screen. This screen lets in just enough light for saunas and washing rooms, while at the same time maintaining the necessary privacy of the areas.

 
The new black brick facade gives the building a modest, but clearly contemporary look, which is prominent enough to underline the building’s public use, but does not compete for attention in this wellestablished neighbourhood.

Durable paths

Brick pavers were used for the entrance area and the paths around the building to ensure the longevity of the structure – the sauna is a very popular place and therefore attracts a lot of guests. Since the sauna is of course most sought-after during the cold months of the year the brick pavers also have to withstand snow and ice and winter temperature which tend to fluctuate around freezing point. Together with the black facing bricks they create a consistent overall expression for the revitalized health resort.

Related inspiration articles