Stunning alpine youth hostel offers affordable access to outdoor activities
Built in 2021 for Jugendgästehaus Gerlosplatte GmbH this 450-bed youth hostel has been created to provide affordable school trips for children to visit an ecological area in an alpine town in Austria.
Located in the small town of Hochkrimml in the Salzburg Alps, the 7500sq m solid wood building is constructed using binderholz CLT BBS and incorporates dormitories, gymnasia and leisure facilities designed to blend and harmoniously connect with its beautiful environment.
The building has been set into a hillside in a north-south direction with a south facing ‘village square’ that provides a welcoming entrance for visitors. The main building is surrounded by wings with green roofs that reach out at either side providing a seamless flow into the sloping terrain.
Designed around a theme of ‘connection’, all of the above ground sections of the building have been constructed of binderholz CLT BBS. The aim is to provide building users with views of other aspects of the site through fully-glazed ground floor zones which allow the interior to be flooded with natural light.
Continuing the design theme, all levels and lounging areas are connected for easy access by ramps.
The wings accommodate the dining halls and a lounge for relaxing after the day’s activities which can be accessed via the forecourt. Below the west wing is where sport and leisure activity areas can be found, whilst the east wing has space for ski equipment and bike storage.
The gymnasia are located in the basement of the hostel and extend underground into the hill. There is a pump track, football room and trampolines with a landing pit. A sound proofed disco and indoor football area have also been included, and a climbing wall, which extends from the lower basement level up to the ground floor, is a main attraction in the array of facilities provided for the children.
The dormitory-style bedrooms are located on the first and second floors and a lounging area and sauna on the roof of the main building give breath-taking views of the neighbouring ski slopes and valleys.
Use of timber
All of the above ground sections of the building have been constructed of binderholz CLT BBS locally sourced timber. This solid wood product is made by bonding timber together in both longitudinal and transverse layers which reduces the risk of swelling or shrinkage.
Just 0.6% being environmentally friendly glue, it is able to carry high loads, is fireproof and has sound and heat insulating properties. It is also a good regulator of humidity to help keep the atmosphere inside buildings comfortable in all seasons.
Energy efficiency and sustainability
The hostel has been designed to be energy efficient and benefits from solar power, and heating provided by a district wood chip biomass plant.
To reduce pollution, the facility is run by a local coach company which provides transport to and from the site which eliminates the need for any cars to access the area.
Adding to the sustainability of the project, any timber left over from the construction hasn’t gone to waste and has been recycled into furniture for the youth hostel.