Karlshamn Cold Bath House in Sweden

A classic symbol of Swedish cultural heritage reinterpreted with a modern twist – the award-winning bathhouse fulfils a Swedish coastal town’s dream.

Situated on a stretch of beautiful coastline in southern Sweden, it is not difficult to imagine why Karlshamn has had a long surviving tradition of bathing in the sea. The only element missing was a bathhouse, which is the quintessential symbol in Sweden for year round dips in the water. Kallbadhusets Vänner (Friends of the Bathhouse) is the local organisation and catalyst for the town to receive its first bathhouse. Together with local sponsors and the municipality, they were able to realise their collective long-time dream of offering a forum for enjoying the sea all year round. The public swimming hall, a well-known local establishment, is in close proximity to Kallbadhus; as a group, they form a truly unique opportunity to swim in an indoor pool, outdoor pool or hopping into the water from the new bathhouse. Kallbadhus – translating literally as “the cold bathhouse” – is located along a beach promenade and designed to a height of three metres above sea level. The sharply angled volume designed in wood straddles solid land and water while facing a free and open horizon. Two glulam beams work as the structure for a small bridge linking visitors to the entrance of the bathhouse from the beach. A common room with an adjoining terrace are flanked on one side by the women’s sauna and the opposite side is balanced with the men’s sauna. Designed to maximise the dramatic view of the bay, the saunas are located near the stairs for easy access into the cool water below. Sun terraces are designed to receive as much sun exposure as possible while simultaneously offering protection from the wind. The exterior facades are clad with a flat wood panelling treated with a grey-pigmented oil that will eventually give way to the wood’s own natural grey patina.

Architects: White Arkitekter / Photographs: Bert Leandersson

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