Rooftop Sauna

Designed by Jody McGuire

The industrious clients came to us with dreams of a new garage structure to provide a home for all of their passions. The design came together around a three car garage with room for a micro-brewery, workshop and bicycle storage – all attached to the house via a new three season porch – and a native prairie landscape and sauna structure on the roof.

The roof scape provides an urban oasis to the homeowners, while providing natural (farmable!) habitat and storm water retention to this edge of Lake Nokomis. A cedar walkway cuts through the garden, providing private outdoor space, and links the upper level of the house to the front door of the sauna. The sauna structure was inspired by the clients’ love of a Japanese teahouse and is clad in cedar siding which was charred for appearance and durability (by the homeowners, friends and architects) according to the traditional technique known as shou-sugi-ban. From the sauna bench, the view back to the rooftop feels like you have been transported out of the city and into a magical forest.

For more on the creation of this project, you can read our guest blog post Making An Urban Rooftop Paradise written by the homeowners.

Construction by Craft Design Build, Minneapolis, MN
Garden Design and Installation by Omni Ecosystems, Chicago, IL
Photographs by Corey Gaffer

2018 Mpls.St.Paul Magazine RAVE Award

A Residential Roofscape, Midwest Home, April 2020
A Sauna and a Native Meadow Garden Elevate a Minnesota Rooftop, Houzz, July 2019
An Ancient Japanese wood-charring technique is finding new fans in Minnesota, Star Tribune, December 2017