Clay-earth Sauna at Prossen Castle

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Clay-earth Sauna at Prossen Castle

A clay-earth sauna fit for a king

The heat store and humidity regulator, clay earth, has a high potential for increasing the comfort of spa areas. But a third player in these spas – the water – poses a potential problem. The vaulted sauna in Prossen castle, a historic castle converted into a holiday residence in the Saxon Elbe Valley proves that it certainly can work.

In the course of time

The history of the Prossen manor more than likely began in the 12th century. The stately mansion in its current form was built in 1693. Today you can experience all the comforts of modern living in the lavishly renovated historic halls and rooms.

In the period between being a residence for nobility and a holiday residence, the building had several very different uses: a brewery, a storehouse for machine parts, and in the past 40 years, a primary school and a kindergarten. These different tenants all added additional walls or divided the rooms and covered historic walls and ceilings.

Dive into the deep end

Today none of these former uses are apparent any longer. In the course of the renovation, the original floor plan was restored. Due to the size of the rooms, there is a modern loft feeling in the two suites and the eight fully equipped apartments.

“We tried to understand the house and bring it into the 21st century in a way that is appropriate for it,” states architect Dr. Tom Schoper when describing the design philosophy.

The renovation work was a rollercoaster of emotions for the owners Jutta and Torsten Wiesner. Nearly all the ceiling joists were found to be rotted and had to be replaced. On the other hand, exceptional baroque stucco ceilings and historic wooden floors were discovered intact.

Reach new shores

When building the sauna area in the former castle kitchen, the owners and the architect remained true to their philosophy of bringing a new vision to the historic rooms. In the implementation, they made some unusual choices. The division of the room into a Finnish sauna and a mid-range sauna as well as three shower areas was done with clay brick walls.

How can water and clay earth go together? By protecting the clay walls from penetrating water. Only when clay blocks can soak up moisture does the combination becomes dangerous.

The clay walls in the showers were sealed accordingly and covered with tiles. Wood panelling also protects the building material in the Finnish sauna. Master plasterer Andreas Wugk also applied a seal to the base area, which is at risk of getting wet from splashing water.

Where the physical nourishment of the former residents used to be prepared, today you can relax in the soothing warmth and let your thoughts wander.

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Clay Highlight:

Claytec’s earthen-clay wellness factor

Relaxing in a clay-earth sauna is so pleasant due to the good air quality and the radiant heat from the clay earth walls. For the sauna in Prossen castle, the walls of the two sauna cabins placed in the room were built with the clay block DF and clay masonry mortar.

The outside of the saunas and the inside of the mid-range sauna were plastered with Mineral 20 clay plaster as an undercoat and with an earthen-clay topcoat in red. The clay plaster surfaces were coated with a silicate primer from Claytec in the base area up to a height of 15 cm to seal them against moisture from the showers and that used when washing the floors. The inside of the Finnish sauna was clad in wood.

In the shower cubicles, GRÄFIX 61 coarse lime was applied to the clay block walls. A seal also protects the masonry from penetrating water. Matching mosaic tiles provide the wall finish.


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