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Youth Hostel Gerlosplatte: A Model of Environmental Consciousness and Thrilling Architecture"

The Youth Hostel Gerlosplatte is located in the Austrian Alps at an elevation of 1700 meters. The main objective of the hostel is to create an affordable and environmentally friendly environment for school trips. The hostel is constructed using regional solid wood in a solid timber construction method and utilizes a biomass district heating system for heating. Additionally, the hostel generates its own electricity through photovoltaic panels and primarily uses coaches for transportation to reduce individual traffic. The project also utilizes leftover wood from the cross-laminated timber walls to create furniture. The hostel spans an area of approximately 7500 m2 and accommodates 450 guests, while the indoor sports areas cover around 2200 square meters.

In terms of architectural and landscape design, the main structure of the youth hostel building follows a longitudinal wooden construction approach. The urban and spatial design creates a south-facing U-shaped village square between the main building and the road, serving as a semi-public area between the youth hostel and the surrounding buildings. Two side wings accompany this square on the ground floor, sinking into the landscape and covered by vegetation.

Approaching the youth hostel building, a simple wooden structure is visible, providing access to the main building from the village square through a single-story glazed area. The height of this area corresponds to the cast wings of the building that flank the village square, allowing the main building to hover over it like a bridge. As visitors delve deeper into the landscape along the course of the village square, numerous voids between the floors of the simple structure provide visual transparency and offer increasingly panoramic views of the lower-lying landscape. The lobby is located on the ground floor and is accessible via ramps positioned centrally across the entire width of the longitudinal structure. The vertical accessibility of the ramps and the numerous voids between the floors provide rich cross-views of a three-story climbing wall starting from the second basement level in the sports area.

The lobby ramps not only serve as access points to the various levels of the building but also act as a three-dimensional promenade connecting the different functions of the youth hostel. This ramp creates a "promenade mile" that offers visitors a unique experience of the building's interior, connecting the sports and recreational areas.

Project Name - Youthhostel Gerlos

Lead Architects- Ar. Christine Lechner

Completion year - 2021

Gross Built-up Area - 7.557 m2

Project Location - Hochkrimml 244, 5743 Krimml, Austria

Contact Email-

Firm Location- Priesterhausgasse 18, 5020 Salzburg, Austria

Photo Credits- Julian Hoeck


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