Liikkanen – Secrets of Finnish Sauna Design

About the Book

Are you planning a new sauna, renovating an old one, or just dreaming? Do yourself a favor: save your sauna project and read this wonderfully illustrated book about the design of authentic Finnish saunas!

New research has identified Finnish sauna bathing as a source of numerous health benefits. To enjoy these effects, you need a proper Finnish sauna. This book presents the collective wisdom accumulated by Finnish sauna builders, designers, and researchers across centuries, enabling anyone, anywhere, to design a pleasant bath house for family and friends to enjoy. 

The book provides answers to three major questions:

  • What is a Finnish sauna?
  • What should you require from its design?
  • How do you design a Finnish sauna in detail? 

The book covers all aspects needed to design a functional, healthy, and delightful sauna, from heating and air quality to interior design. It instructs the reader how to master both tangible and intangible, visible and invisible elements of a sauna. The book puts a special emphasis on the sauna experience, living up to the belief that short-term satisfaction is the first step towards long-term health benefits. It features examples of contemporary Finnish sauna design and outlines why a true sauna experience is so much more than merely ‘a hot room’.

The Secrets of Finnish Sauna Design is based on the author’s intensive research, which spans five years, an extensive bibliography, and dozens of expert interviews. He heas authored 200+ articles about sauna on his website In 2019, Liikkanen published a book (in Finnish) titled Hyvien löylyjen salaisuus (roughly translated as ‘the secret of great steam’) which was released by a national publishing company, Rakennustieto. Now, he unveils the secrets of Finnish sauna design and construction for international audiences and, for the first time, reveals what it takes to create a truly great, Finnish-style sauna experience. Although Finns enjoy sauna for the sheer pleasure of it, the goal of the book is to support the design of saunas in which time passes unnoticed and health benefits are easy to reach.

The book is constructed around the author’s four-faceted model of the sauna experience: heat, air quality, interior design, and sauna culture. The first three elements of the book will provide concrete and research-supported arguments about how different sauna design choices affect the overall experience. These parts are direct adaptations of the Finnish original.

  • Heat: the mysteries of the sauna stove and stones, specifications and examples
  • Air quality: what’s in the sauna air? Mechanical and natural ventilation solutions
  • Interior design: ceiling, benches, walls, floor, windows, lighting, electronics, safety, and ergonomics

Additionally, the book includes a new introduction into Finnish sauna culture: the practice, the concepts of sauna, and its history. Together with a review of essential sauna technology innovations of the past 150 years, this part helps the reader to understand why Finnish saunas are built the way they are – at times almost precisely as they were more than a hundred years ago!

This is a book for professional designers and architects, DIY constructors, and home renovators (sauna owners and enthusiasts). Suitable for reading on special topics on undergraduate / graduate level architecture studies.

About the Author

Author Dr. Lassi A Liikkanen (Aalto University) is a designer and scholar. The book is based on five years of intensive research and interviews of key Finnish sauna experts. For his sauna-focused website at, he has authored over two hundred articles. His academic accomplishments include nearly one hundred peer-reviewed papers, the latest of those around sauna bathing!

This image links to a preview PDF (10MB) of some of the book’s interior pages, including the Table of Contents, some pages from the first chapter and the bibliography, as well as the index.

first page of sauna book
Book Preview

How Do I Buy the Book?

Use the links below to order The Secrets of Finnish Sauna Design from Amazon worldwide or scroll down further and order directly from Culicidae Press here in the United States.

Library, Bookstores, and other Institutions

Our books may be purchased in bulk for promotional, educational or business use by libraries, bookstores, and other institutions. Please use our online order form to purchase books at a 50% discount. All other customers, please use the links below.

Kindle ($24.95)

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Paperback ($39.95)

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Hardcover ($47.95)

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If you are a higher-education student or faculty, please send us a note via the Contact page from your educational email account to get the book at a 20% discount.

Product Details

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Culicidae Architectural Press (April 23, 2021, paperback, and September 1, 2023, hardcover)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 216 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1683150268
Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.01 pounds
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 7 x 0.51 x 10 inches

Best Sellers Rank: #51,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
#6 in Architectural Materials
#208 in Design & Decorative Arts
#282 in Architecture (Books)

Customer Reviews

Video Presentation by Lassi Liikkanen on Sauna Design for Wellbeing: The Essence of Nordic Thermal Retreat

The video below is by author Lassi Liikkanen about the designs of saunas, based on the book The Secrets of Finnish Sauna Design (published by Culicidae Architectural Press, an imprint of Culicidae Press, in 2021). The video is a recording of the first session in the online conference organized by the British Sauna Society, and the session was called Sauna Design for Wellbeing: The Essence of Nordic Thermal Retreat which was held as part of the London Festival of Architecture on 3 June 2021.


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