Smoke Hut | 1844
The Finnish smoke hut is a single building within a larger settlement. Due to the wide availability of timber most the buildings were built out of it. Due to this villages often burnt down every 40-50 years and were rebuilt in different locations where timber was available.
The main living residence was built in three stages. The first stage was the smoke hut “tupa” which was a temporary living space till the adjacent “Pirtti” was built for cooking, living and sleeping where the tupe was converted to a sauna space. The two buildings were finally linked by roofing the in-between space – the “porstua”.
The standard type of sauna, which has remained unchanged through centuries, is the rectangular one-room log hut that houses an open rock stove and a raised platform. The communal sauna was an essential building within these villages and a vital factor in farmers’ daily lives as living off the grudging land with a growing season of only 4 months was hard. In Finland the sauna was used for all stages of life; heating, birth, socialising and health. Yet, sweat bathing only required heating of small amounts of water – far less than what is required to fill a tub.
Centuries of knowledge on log construction along with vast wood reserves enabled Finns to build long-lasting wooden dwellings and be generous with heating. Pine, fir and aspen were the most commonly used types of wood. Pine is one of the most robust and strong coniferous breeds that possess resistance to rotting, high thermal capacity and gas permeability. Its valuable dense structure makes for good construction material.