Partisan. A new architectural approach to the traditional spa

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On the shore of Lake Huron in the region of North Ontario lays one of the most spectacular saunas that seems like an aquatic animal enjoying the view and the sun.


The Partisan trio of architects, Pooya Baktash, Alexander Josephson and Jonathan Friedman, have been praised for their work on this amazing structure that serves as a spa, but also as a gathering spot for friends and family. Featuring a generous surface of 75 square meters, the sauna resembles more a grotto than a usual spa cabin on a lake. Though the exterior doesn’t say much about the creativity and innovative techniques used for this project, the interior, with its amorphous form, is astonishing.


The sauna named Grotto is build with local rot-resistant cedar panels that are isolated and have gaps between them, so the wood can expand and contract without damaging the structure and allowing the cabin to “breathe”.


“Then you move inside, which is visceral, warm, and sculptural. We wanted to design a building that would transport the visitor into another world… like a grotto. The clients told us that each time they enter it, it’s almost as if they’re rediscovering the space for the first time,” says Josephson.

Photo credits: Partisan


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