Buchner Bründler Architekten
Jugendherberge St. Alban
With its large, bright work halls, the classicist factory building constructed in 1850/51 was considered a model structure for silk ribbon manufacture at the time. In the building’s conversion to a youth hostel in 1979/80, nearly the entire interior was removed except for the former dye cellar. The outer facade layer remained largely unchanged. The guiding concept of the renewed architectural intervention includes, in addition to the required expansion of the space, a clarification of interior space relations and reinterpretation of the context.
The new development from Maja-Sacherplatz square changes the youth hostel’s urban contextualization. A bridge across St. Alban pond leads to the main entrance, and continues as a wooden walkway, following along the longitudinal side of the building to end in the new, semi public terrace area. An open oak lamella structure on the bridge, walkway, and extension building forms a wooden bracket around the old stone structure. As an ephemeral level, it interwines the building and the adjacent forest. Through re-orientation, the ground level regains the original vastness of the former silk ribbon factory and becomes an ample meeting area. Selective opening of the two front sides expands the view relation to St. Alban’s church and the forested embankment. In allusion to the building’s industrial past; direct, robust, and haptic materialization is at the forefront of all interventions.
The building’s basic structure, with the vaults of the dye cellar and later-inserted supports, is exposed. A sculpturally formed sales counter embraces the reception, which is oriented toward the slope, with vertical development in the back and secondary spaces. Each room of the older building has a front area for washing and luggage storage. Green glazed viewing slots at the sides of the doors connect the strictly aligned corridor with the room layer. Exposed concrete and oak are dominant materials of the extension, which contains twenty-one rooms with bathrooms. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer a direct relation to the outside space, which, in turn, influences the interior atmosphere and lighting. Vertical lamellae on the facade provide greater intimacy for the private balconies. A loose spatial level emerges, which lets the addition blend into the dense greenery of the forest.
Location: Basel, Switzerland
Type: Renovation, Extension, Youth Hostel
Client: Schweizerische Stiftung für Sozialtourismus
Project Management: Sebastian Pitz - Thomas Klement
Supervising Engineer: Buchner Bründler Architekten - Jenny Jenisch - Sebastian Pitz
Staff Study Commission: Hellade Miozzari - Christoph Hiestand - Beda Klein
Staff Planning: Jenny Jenisch - Hellade Miozzari - Daniel Dratz - Florian Rink - Claudia Furer - Annika Stötzel - Konstantin König - Oliver Teiml
Photography: Ruedi Walti - Ludovic Balland - LOSYS GmbH