- Architects: LAVA, WENZEL + WENZEL
- Location: Bayreuth, Germany
- Area: 3800.0 m2
- Project Year: 2017
- Photographs: Häfele, Studio Huber, LAVA
- Structural Planning: Engelsmann Peters, Stuttgart
- Building Services: IBT.PAN, Berlin
- Fire Protection: Bau.art, Munich
- Kitchen Planning: b.o.b
- Wayfinding: Space Agency, London
- Lava: Tobias Wallisser, Alexander Rieck, Chris Bosse
- Team: Julian Fahrenkamp (PL), Angelika Hermann, Jan Kozerski, Mikolay Scibisz, Nicola Schunter, Paula Gonzalez, Güley Alagöz, Elise Elsacker, Myung Lee, Yuan Ma; competition team: Sebastian Schott, Stephan Albrecht, Stefanie Pesel
- Wenzel+Wenzel: Matias Wenzel, Sven Becker, Thilo von Wintzingerode, Erik Muth
Text description provided by the architects. LAVA chose the letter ‘Y’ shape because the geometry creates a building shape that interweaves interior and exterior space. It offers views to three directions, creates natural openings to the sport fields, terraces and gardens, and creates a central community space. The designer age of the 21st century means young travellers and backpackers want a special identity, community and unique experiences, not just a clean bed and shower.
Bayreuth provided a stunning location and a unique opportunity to develop the prototype of a new sports hostel, a benchmark, that further develops the traditional hostel through innovative spatial configurations, sustainability at environmental, structural and social levels and integrated sporting facilities directly adjacent to the building: a place that invites active use and relaxation.
The Y shape also creates a central atrium, a hub for offline as well as online interaction, a meeting space that provides entertainment, interaction, comfort and communication. An amphitheatre in the middle connects the different levels in a playful way. A skylight provides natural daylight whilst horizontal and diagonal sightlines direct guests to different functions in the building such as reception, seminar rooms, dining, kitchen, spread out over two floors and connected to each other via this central atrium.
Each wing of the Y has access to the exterior at the end, and many ‘loops’ combining inside and outside come together at the central point of the Y. The wider arm houses public functions: kitchen and canteen on ground level, seminar rooms on first floor; and both are connected via the hall and stairs and have direct access to outside.
The visionary design is marked by intelligent organisation (easy to find things, get in contact, spend time together, connect inside to outside activities, rooms become viewing spots for sport activities). This integrated concept fulfils the hostel motto: ‘experience community’ and goes beyond it: ‘experience the unexpected’ – not the youth hostel as people know it. It’s this organisation – creating a stage for activities – separating individual from group spaces but bringing people together in an open internal landscape that is unique. This is budget accommodation, but it offers spatial fluidity and other spatial experiences not available even in expensive hotels.
Sports fields, adventure playgrounds and volleyball terraces are complemented by local vegetation. A grand staircase doubling as an amphitheatre is used for cultural events such as outdoor movie screenings and theatre performances. The fluid structure is integrated into the landscape, with contemporary materials and a ‘no frills’ interior – a powerful place for active people.
The new building for the JH Bayreuth is located in a landscaped situation in the surroundings of the university and a swimming pool. The building reacts to this by dividing and zoning the exterior space. Starting from a central atrium, individual two-storey functional areas develop in a Y shape into the terrain. The 30-metre-long room wings are facing north and south. Between the building parts, the associated functions such as a sports field, adventure playground and vegetation zones are integrated. The low building height underlines the topographical integration and counteracts the urban planning dominance of a multi-storey building on the large, green plot. The upper floor of each wing is connected via an outdoor area with stairs to the landscape level.