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a large ship in the water
Trosten by estudio Herreros. Photo by Einar Aslaksen
Design thinking

How we conceived the first universally accessible floating sauna in Oslo with recycled aluminium

Two years after we inaugurated the Munch Museum in Oslo, estudio Herreros has completed “Trosten”, a small architectural manifesto built in the Norwegian capital.

The Floating Sauna commissioned by the non-profit Oslo Sauna Association is aligning with their vision of “bringing sauna to the people.” Following the architectural tradition of pavilion-objects, the project features a distinct volume and silhouette with a strong, colorful component, serving as a point for both individual and collective use, offering retreat and contemplation at the foot of the Munch Museum.

Jens Richter is a parter in estudio Herreros

The sauna is divided into a sauna cabin with direct access to the water and an amphitheater facing the fjord, allowing for small events. The construction combines sustainable design through an ambitious energy system that ensures consistent heat at all levels; conscious use of natural and recycled materials; and social inclusion, being the first universally accessible sauna with a steam recirculation system that facilitates heat for convenient use, also when seated in a wheelchair.

Experimental components and innovative solutions 

The proposal has an important experimental component that already enrolled with the assembly of the wooden structure in a dry dock outside the city before installing it on a prefabricated concrete floating platform, where the exterior skin and interior finishings were added.

The towing and landing at its destination completed the construction cycle that avoided disturbing the everyday tranquility of the sauna village. Additionally, the project contributes to decarbonization and reduces environmental impact using certified wood, the reuse of rubber waste in exterior pavements, recycled aluminum in the façades, and large terrazzo tiles fabricated under Green Label certification, providing thermal inertia to the ensemble.

Trosten has been a testbed for innovative solutions with a holistic concept, where architectural, aesthetic, and social considerations intersect with technical solutions, creating a sustainable whole on all levels. This has been made possible thanks to a unique collaboration with the client, the technical consultants, the builders and the material providers, who contributed with their know-how and experience.

A façade with an emblematic colour made of recycled aluminium

The anodized and powder coated aluminum profiles from Hydro used for Trosten's façade contain a minimum of 75 percent recycled post-consumer aluminium scrap, which drastically reduces the carbon footprint. The material was selected to be the outermost shell of the Trosten Sauna façade because of durability and for both aesthetic and environmental purposes. 

In the case of the Trosten Sauna façade, the complexity of the geometry of the façade was to be negotiated with the application of extruded aluminium profiles. By breaking the complex shape into a series of simple modules, it was possible to be assembled on site with great precision, regardless of the complex inclination of the structure.

a body of water with buildings in the background
Trosten is situated right next to the Munch Museum in Oslo


Trosten - a harbinger of good luck

Trosten is an architectural instrument of slowing down time, an observatory from which to understand the city and its ecology, and to connect with realities and phenomena beyond health practice. Its name corresponds to the Norwegian word for the thrush bird, which migrates annually between Spain and the Nordic countries, traditionally seen as a harbinger of good luck.

This idea that a small piece of architecture can impact a constellation of global issues reminds us that we must seize every opportunity to send messages that can be understood by all regarding the fragility of our planet.

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