Talvinen ulkokuva teekkarisauna Mörrimöykystä.

When the world is in turmoil, Teekkarisauna Mörrimöykky stands firm

News article

The newly renovated sauna in Tampere is not just a place to enjoy good löylys. It’s a space reserved specifically for students.

Nestled in the forest in Hervanta, Tampere, stands a moss roof sauna known as Mörrimöykky.

“It doesn’t exactly hide under a spruce stump like the home of its namesake troll, but it is partially underground,” says Masi Kajander.

At the time of the interview, Kajander was the chair of the board of Teekkarisäätiö (Teekkari Foundation) in Tampere. The foundation owns Teekkarisauna Mörrimöykky, or “Tsauna”, as it is more affectionately known.

The sauna was built in 1992 based on the design of Juha Mäki-Jyllilä, a student of architecture. Mäki-Jyllilä won the competition to design the sauna with an entry named Mörrimöykky.

Before Mörrimöykky, technology students in Tampere would use a sauna on Savilinnankatu near the centre of the city. The students had rented the sauna for themselves. They carefully renovated the facilities and kept them in good condition, and Kajander assures that the parties were not too rowdy. When the temporary lease expired in 1989, the students offered to buy the sauna.

“But they could not accept the owner’s asking price, as it was three times higher than the students’ original offer, which they had felt was reasonable. So they were left without a sauna for some time. That’s when the construction project of Mörrimöykky began,” says Kajander.

When the Tampere University of Technology, the University of Tampere and the Tampere University of Applied Sciences merged in 2019, the student unions of the universities also merged. Before the merger, the student union of the Tampere University of Technology donated the sauna to Teekkarisäätiö.

After giving good löylys to tech students for about thirty years, the building was in sore need of a renovation. Its surfaces were worn, structures damaged and building technology outdated and the building itself was not compliant with accessibility requirements. Energy efficiency was poor and the rooms were quite small considering how many people were using them. The foundation decided to start renovating the sauna.

Kajander has been involved in the renovation project from the start.

“It took some time to put together a project team for the renovation, active individuals to find labour and material resources and to raise funds. The start of the renovation project was delayed due to COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine. Companies were struggling and prices went up, especially in construction,” he says.

Big project finally finished

Iiro Parhankangas served on the 2023 board of Tampereen Teekkarit as the administrative master overseeing the sauna. Tampereen Teekkarit ry has leased the sauna from Tampereen Teekkarisäätiö. As it happens, the sauna renovation team managed to raise enough funds for the project during Parhankangas’ term. The budget was 700,000 euros.

“Raising funds and finding materials took years of work, but when the actual renovation began in August, the work progressed quickly,” he says.

Parhankangas is especially happy about getting Tanel Tiainen involved in the renovation project. Tiainen has studied in Tampere and originally got involved as a labour resource sponsored by Ramboll.

“Tiainen has been an important source of support and reassurance, a skilled professional who knows exactly what the sauna needs to meet our needs.”

This sauna has always been a place where I’ve felt welcome.
- Iiro Parhankangas

Kajander also wishes to thank main contractor Consti Korjausrakentaminen Oy for the excellent partnership. Tampere Technical Society has acted both as a financial sponsor and a sparring partner during the renovation project. The Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland TEK donated funds for the renovation. A total of about 50 companies, in addition to several foundations, guilds, communities and private individuals, also chipped in.

Although the sauna renovation was successfully completed in November, the team wanted to add some final touches before the official opening ceremony. The idea is to hold the ceremony this spring. Plans have already been made for the next project: the façade and terrace need some improvements.

“We’re still accepting donations,” says Kajander.

Singing is allowed!

In addition to taking a sauna, the facilities are used for all kinds of activities and events. Parhankangas says that the sauna can be modified to host all sorts of events from the craft sessions of student clubs to large techno parties where one artist plays indoors and another in a tent set up on the terrace. Private individuals may rent Mörrimöykky only in exceptional cases, provided that the renter is a reliable graduate engineer or architect and the event organized at the sauna is their graduation party.

“Guilds organize sauna evenings for first-year students as part of their training. First-year students are introduced to the spirit of Teekkarisauna and its communality, and getting undressed or drinking alcohol is not required,” says Parhankangas.

This is Parhankangas's sixth year of studying energy technology at Tampere University.

“This sauna has always been a place where I’ve felt welcome.”

Kajander has already graduated, but while studying information technology, Kajander would visit the sauna two or three times a week.

“In those days, we’d take the sauna even when we’d left our towels at home. That didn’t matter; the place is so secluded in the middle of the forest that you can just cool off outside. Once when it was 25 degrees below zero, our wet feet started to freeze and get stuck in the snow as we were taking a break between sauna sessions. When I saw my fellow sauna-goers the next day, we all had mild frostbite,” Kajander recalls.

Special attention was given to acoustics when renovating Mörrimöykky. This is important, because singing plays a big role in the tech students’ sauna.

“It doesn't matter what your voice is like, as long as you sing,” explains Parhankangas.

Kajander says that, in a world that is in turmoil, Mörrimöykky is a place reserved specifically for students and that it is unfortunate that the university no longer provides facilities for student activities like it used to. This makes student spaces like Mörrimöykky all the more important.

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