The letter ‘Y’ is the shape of a new youth hostel in Bayreuth, Germany, designed by award-winning international architects LAVA for the Bavarian Youth Hostel Association.
“We are in the designer age when Gen Y travellers want funky design, a special identity, access to online and community and unique experiences, not just a clean bed and shower,” says Tobias Wallisser, director of LAVA. “LAVA chose the ‘Y’ shape because it generates a connective and beautiful central space offering expansive views and multiple openings to the sports fields and gardens. And a happy coincidence its also the letter ‘Y’!”
The Y shape 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.
Alexander Rieck, LAVA director, said: “It’s all about intelligent organisation, making it easy to find things, connect, socialise, creating a stage for individual and group activities.”
The 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’.
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.