Grotto by PARTISANS

Out of roughly fifteen completely different ideas only 4 made the most sense; and the clients—adventurous at heart—selected a scheme that presented both excitement and challenges for the team. The process led to a new-found understanding for the properties of materials. PARTISANS have designed Grotto, a sauna located on San Souci Island, in the Georgian Bay area of Ontario, Canada. Subsequently, an unconventional process of design-play took place, and everyone in our studio collaborated in sculpting the Grotto. Architect: PARTISANS
Partisans Team: Alexander Josephson, Pooya Baktash, Jonathan Friedman, Shamir Panchal, Ivan Vasyliv, Betty Vuong, Nathan Bishop, Phil Deck, Kim Bozak
Contractor: Jordan Construction, Chantler Barging
Wood Fabrication and Installation: MCM Inc
Photography by Jonathan Friedman and PARTISANS The rest of the systems were based on controlled air flow. Challenging the standards of current practices in the construction industry, we worked directly with a millwork and steel fabrication partner, MCM Inc., on every detail. A sensual environment, its serene landscape reminds the temporary dwellers of the harmony that exist beyond human possibilities. As a cascading granite cliff shaped by glaciers into a peninsula, the rock offered both new possibilities and an unobstructed view of the horizon. Creating the illusion of a carved interior, we formed the specially selected cedar timber into panels with parallel grains. When PARTISANS team met on site, with a new client for designing and constructing a potential Sauna, they knew that their most prominent challenge was to make a free-standing structure that not only respected, but also matured from the context. Furthermore, the internal structure of the Grotto was tightly sealed and a layer of energy efficient aluminum foil was adhered to all internal surfaces creating a convective air plenum between the internal wood panels and the space in which they were mounted. There are vents and fans in-place that allow the building to breathe seasonally and prevent rot or mold in the structure. Located on Sans Souci Island, the site is a prehistoric large-scale rock formation. National Geographic has ranked the sunsets on this site as one of the best in the world. We used insulation on the building to not only protect its components from heating up or cooling down too quickly, but also to make the Grotto more energy efficient. The team scanned the rock, using a Leica 3D laser scanner to create multiple CNC’d models in differing scales and materials. The space behind the wood panels created convection currents that allow the skin to breathe through the ventilation pores that were carved into seats and seams of the cedar panels. Grottos, historically, have been known as natural or artifi cial caves that are embedded deep behind the curvature of streams, and thus discovered by those who would take the time to explore. Contemplated research was conducted, and through the process a Grotto was set as an inspiration that would inform the design. Understanding the age-old rock, intimately, was the first step toward architecture. This allows for the wood to expand and contract evenly with even heat movement all around.

Updated: 26.11.2014 — 13:47