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The Modernisation of Berchtesgaden Youth Hostel – Where Design Meets Adventure
Deutsches Jugendherbergswerk, Landesverband Bayern e.V., Munich
LAVA (Laboratory for Visionary Architecture)
LAVA’S NEW DESIGN FOR THE YOUTH HOSTEL GIVES SHAPE AND FORM TO THIS EVER-CHANGING PROCESS OF COMMUNAL LIVING AT BERCHTESBERG. A QUALITY, WHICH SPEAKS TO THE FUTURE BY INTEGRATING THE MOST UP-TODATE BUILDING AND ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES.
On 8 October 2011 following a comprehensive modernisation programme, “Haus Untersberg” was completed on the site of the Berchtesgaden Youth Hostel. The building works began at “Haus Untersberg“ in August 2010, while the youth hostel continued to provide accommodation for guests. Over the coming years, new building projects are to further reshape the entire complex at Berchtesgaden Youth Hostel.
In designing the building, LAVA took great care to consider both the changing requirements of young guests and families and the potential of the basic structure of the existing building.
Entire Complex Haus Untersberg: bottom left
The team around Prof. Tobias Wallisser, Dr. Alexander Rieck and Chris Bosse assigned individual functions to each of the existing buildings. A systematic analysis of the structure of the building led the architects to develop a convincing design in line with the client’s usage specifications and with due consideration of relevant factors for the future. The visible qualities of Berchtesgaden Youth Hostel include buildings embedded in an idyllic landscape with views of the mountains, the proximity of the site to park lands and the established structure of various buildings.
Four buildings, arranged at large temporal distances with various layouts form an established ensemble. Units that have outgrown their usefulness are broken up in order to serve new purposes. In this way the existing structures, flexible spatial units and lounge areas, create a totally new and open visual appearance.
The family unit – “Haus Untersberg” – was the first building to be rebuilt on the site of the youth hostel. In accordance with the overall concept, LAVA assigned unique functions to the various areas. These are reflected in the construction components and in the built-in furniture. The room, as the main commodity of an accommodation business, is the starting point for the contemporary architectural layout. The idea for the stratification and penetration of usable areas was applied at “Haus Untersberg” and was adapted to suit the revitalisation of the existing structure. Old and new complement each other and give each other meaning through contrast. A contemporary reinterpretation of bunk beds as stackable beds or sleep cocoons, natural materials, and the refined combination of simple elements, create a new atmosphere with minimum intervention. The feeling of being in a mattress warehouse is avoided through the use of clean lines for the built-in wardrobes in combination with other furniture. The interpretation of built-in furniture employed in the façade, in the form of projecting cubes as “Think and Relax Boxes”, has clearly been drawn from the wooden weather boarding, which has been retained. This breaking open of the old structure, as well as the extensive openings in the new stairwell, provides glimpses of the changes made to the interior of the building, an example of the change in the image of Bavaria’s youth hostels. The use of natural and local materials and the refined combination of simple elements creates an atmosphere, whose value lies in the selection and processing of these materials. The built-in wooden floors, whose signs of use tell the story of several generations of guests, are full of regional authenticity. Regional references at Berchtesgaden are produced through the use of individual accessories. In this way, each room and each space is given its own unique character.
Graphics: © LAVA
Photos: © Robert Pupeter & © Tobias Wallisser