Jugendherberge München City

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München, Germany

Meeting place between origins and departure

The Bavarian association of German youth hostels invited five architecture studios to design the modernization of one of Germany’s oldest hostels located in the city center of Munich. The main focus was put on the extension of the existing building with an innovative and high quality design complex that allows experiencing the fundamental values of the successful institution in a new way.

Graft won the First Prize with a concept that is developed around the idea of “Experiencing Community”: above all the modern architecture for the youth hostel will enable exchange and communication. At the same time it alludes to established traditions of simple traveling, youthful curiosity and the thirst for encounter. Particularly in the interior the local iconography of wooden buildings is combined with innovative design. Facing the challenges of modern habits and practices, the new youth hostel builds a bridge between origins and departure.

The main entrance of the new youth hostel will be relocated to the square “Winthirplatz” where the stylistically calm cubature and façade naturally close the gap in the building block, respecting the characteristics of the district. A carved, two-story lobby turns into a lively “experience-space” and serves as “formal business card” of the architecture. Natural elements of the square and the inner courtyard are translated into an amorphous and landscaped architecture that ties together interior and exterior spaces. Due to the selection of materials, the “architectonic dream world” of the inside relates to regional construction methods.

The complex is big enough to host a large number of visitors at the same time and thus symbolizes the basic idea of “Experiencing Community”: the design intentionally combines functions of the lobby, the dining room and the seminar spaces in a joint interior square.

For the modern youth in particular, community does not only take place in the built environment but also and increasingly in virtual spaces. Therefore, the lobby is not only formally but also virtually a “cloud” where simple devices support the interaction between the guests: A modern “black board” of Graphics, QR-codes, miniscreens and projections of maps, as well as Facebook and Twitter pages are part of this communication space.

The rooms are the second strong identifying attribute for a new generation of youth hostels, where modern design and flexible interaction of rooms are combined with robust functionality. The façade of the historic old building at the Wendl-Dietrich-Straße will be renovated according to official preservation orders. In addition to that, the distinctive entrance arches will be made usable on the inside through a delicate glass front system. The entire space of the youth hostel is handicapped accessible so that all spatial qualities are available to everybody.

The following offices took also part in the competition: haascookzemmrich (Stuttgart), Snøhetta (Oslo) und YES Architecture (Munich).

Extension and renovation of youth hostel Munich, Germany

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