The Cadyville Sauna is a small, wooden hut, located along the Saranac River in upstate New York, that dissolves into the surrounding forest via the reflection on its mirrored skin. While its boundaries look unclear, architect Dan Hisel‘s design not only blends with the environment, but lets something deeper and intangible arise. The sauna’s intense thermal conditions make a human body heat up and relax, while the wood absorbs sweat and hot air, causing the body, the building and the forest to become one.
Perched on a hilly bedrock surrounded by forest, this unique mirrored sauna is crafted from local western red cedar and stones. While at the back the natural cliff was used as one of its walls, the structure stands on a fieldstone foundation that rests directly on the bedrock. Topped by galvanized corrugated metal sheeting, its front facade has a window above a mirrored wall.
The silver foil panel not only makes the building blend with its surroundings, but also acts as a vapor barrier together with batt insulation and interior wooden cladding.
As the sauna’s intense thermal conditions arise and the heat penetrates through the skin, the body relaxes, heats up, and sweats. The sweat mingles with the hot vapor and the wooden structure absorbs it all. When water is poured over the stones, the interiors get filled with fog, produce a blur and dissipation of form. The wooden grains imprint on the naked skin and the deep cedar scent is breathed in.
See more works by Dan Hisel and his small design practice in Cambridge here.
- Wooden Sauna Welcomes Guests to Sweat Out the Stress of the City
- ICRAVE Mixes Cedar and Steel to Create This Modern Hamptons Pool House
- Thomas Phifer’s Ethereal Woodland Retreat Hides Behind a Rippled Silver Curtain
Photos via Dan Hisel