Standing on a frozen lake….

The need to return to the site to acquire more accurate measures and information about possible positions of the sauna led us back to the Aalto experimental house once again, but in an entirely different setting.  Curious to be back in a place which took on a completely different form in comparison to months before; to be standing in a place, impossible to walk on not long ago.

A new face emerged from the site rarely seen in the photographs of the house published in magazines and books, the famous array of red brick courtyard  encapsulated by planes of untainted white.  A greater appreciation emerged of how it must have originally required more effort to build at such a location.  It was not long until the pristine coat of snow on the site was impregnated with the footprints of the group transporting the tools and beams across the lake.

Along the  vast expanse of ice made accessible by foot by the season, we walked amoung the reeds that once belonged only to the water to arrange the beams needed to assemble the frame up the hill.  One of the main tasks on the site was to assemble a simple frame taking the outline of the sauna on possible locations in order to see its impact on the landscape.  The preparation of equipment, organisation and plans made by members of the team beforehand, enabled for an efficient day of work during the short daylight hours.  We quickly realised that construction in rough weather and terrain is never the same as building back in the workshop. We Scouted out possible sites and set up the frame on two ideal ones, being thoroughly documented through mapping, measuring and photographing.

Although the air was a crisp and cool minus 20 °c, the wind was absent and the sun took its place across the lake with gratitude shown by our photographer.  The flurry of movement between the icy plains and the wooded slopes helped keep us generally warm, with the exception of our fingers, which harboured the sensation of detachment from our body due to the knots required to thread the frame together.

We are all excited and impatient to see the sauna amoung the trees this time next year, laden with snow with smoke escaping through its hatch in the midst of winter.  As we had witnessed the late sun rising among the blocks in Jyväskylä at 9:00 in the morning we saw it disappear beneath the sheets of ice at Muuratsalo. We look forward to the summer face of Muuratsalo when we return construct our addition to the site.


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