THE OPPOSITE OF COLD wins 2012 Gebard award from MNSAH

The Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians awards THE OPPOSITE OF COLD: The Northwoods Finnish Sauna Tradition, by Michael Nordskog and Aaron Hautala, the 8th annual David Stanley Gebhard Award.


The Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians awards this book by Michael Nordskog and Aaron Hautala the 8th annual David Stanley Gebhard Award.

Press Release Date: 2012-04-23T00:00:00

Nordskog_Opposite coverMNSAH is happy to announce the winners of the eighth biennial David Stanley Gebhard Award. The Gebhard Award recognizes authors of articles and books that focus on some historical aspect of Minnesota’s built environment and honors the late Minnesota-born Society of Architectural Historians president and nationally renowned writer.

The winning book is The Opposite of Cold: The Northwoods Finnish Sauna Tradition, by Michael Nordskog, photographs by Aaron W. Hautala, published in 2010 by University of Minnesota Press. Nordskog is an attorney, writer, and editor who lives in Viroqua, WI. Hautala is creative director and owner of RedHouseMedia in Brainerd, MN.

The Invisible Element of Place: The Architecture of David Salmela by Thomas Fisher, University of Minnesota Press, 2011, received honorable mention in the book category.

There was no award given in the magazine article category this year.

The award period was for works published July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2011.

Judges were Barbara Bezat, assistant archivist, Northwest Architectural Archives, University of Minnesota Libraries; Jennifer Komar Olivarez, associate curator, Decorative Arts, Textiles and Sculpture, Minneapolis Institute of Arts; and Jane King Hession, author and architectural historian.

Read the announcement here.


Beginning with the origins of Finnish sauna, The Opposite of Cold is an exquisite commemoration of the history, culture, and practice of Finnish sauna in the north woods. With stunning photographs of unique and historic saunas of the region Michael Nordskog and Aaron W. Hautala unveil the importance and beauty of sauna culture in modern Midwestern life.

"This beautifully illustrated guide to the saunas of not only Minnesota but also Wisconsin, Michigan, Ontario and Finland celebrates a very old tradition while revealing its importance to modern Midwestern culture. . . . It’s a lovely tribute to North America’s ‘sauna belt.’"
—Chicago Tribune

"Far from an ode to beer-guzzling, skinny-dipping cottagers, this compilation honours the alluring and enduring mystique of the Finnish sauna. Beyond describing the sauna’s architectural evolution from homestead log hut to contemporary lakeside retreat, the book tells the story of Finnish immigration. The accompanying photos by Aaron Hautala make a reader long for the hot steam and a quick dip in a cool lake."
—Globe and Mail