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Patrycja Janiszewska - "Oleśnicka 7a. Metabolic Hostel in Wroclaw"

07 of September '21
Technical data
Type: engineering thesis
Year of defense: 2020
Author: Patrycja Janiszewska
Wydział Architektury Politechniki Wrocławskiej

Dr. Marek Lamber

Work submitted for the competition
"Best Diploma Architecture".

Metabolism in architecture is a philosophy that has been present in Japanese culture for many centuries, but was only officially named at the Tokyo International Design Conference on the occasion of the manifesto "Metabolism 1960: Proposals for New Urbanism." "The basis of the Metabolism philosophy is the drive to renew, recycle, transform, add and remove architecture to adapt it to changing needs," claimed Kiyonori Kikutake.

It was from this movement that the inspiration was drawn to make the building structure function with a fixed load-bearing skeleton and interchangeable and movable elements that can be freely changed over time, replaced when they wear out, moved and adapted to the changing needs of users, so that form follows function.

The hostel was designed on several connected plots of land in Wroclaw's Olbin, surrounded by townhouses dating back to the late 19th century. The designed hostel consists of two frames of prefabricated reinforced concrete frame - south and north, and a reinforced concrete core in the middle. These are the permanent structural elements of the building. As an infill of the framework, I suggested demolition brick to give a second life to the material, but it can be replaced with something else in some time.



© Patrycja Janiszewska

The double facade was constructed according to the same principle - there is a load-bearing skeleton as a fixed element. As its interchangeable filling, I proposed panels of milk glass, which is a reference to Japanese paper screens, behind which plants climb on steel ropes. This solution provides hostel guests with a sense of privacy, while at the same time providing subtle but constant contact with the outside world. On the south and west sides, I used milk glass with photovoltaics. The panels and vegetation on the south and west sides, as well as the bay window structure on the east side, effectively protect the building from overheating in summer. In winter, when the angle of the sun changes, warm winter sun rays come in from the east; in the south and west, the leaves of the plants fall, and the panels accumulate and give off heat. The panels at the ground level have been raised, the structure is open at the top to ensure good natural ventilation.

schemat konstrukcjischemat rozwiązań ekologicznych

diagram of the structure and ecological solutions

© Patrycja Janiszewska

In the surroundings of the building, I chose tree species with a small crown diameter and beneficial effects on human health, as well as columnar fruit trees, which would be an attraction accessible to all. Low greenery in the surroundings, on the terrace and on the green roof is meadow vegetation, undemanding and providing good water retention. In the patio as vertical vegetation, climbing on the Carl Stahl wire rope system, I chose two species: on the south by the balconies, vines, guests could pick fruit from the balconies, and on the south and north, common ivy because of its air purification properties. Rainwater is collected from the roof and terrace into a tank that also acts as a railing in the loggia of the hostel's common room.



© Patrycja Janiszewska

The basement hides two important functions: to the north is a conference room, and in the southern part there are saunas for hostel guests; both parts with direct access to the patio. The patio, both north and south, extends from the basement up through all floors. A multipurpose room (gallery) is located on the first floor on the north side. Above the south patio in the form of a reinforced concrete bridge is located the direct entrance to the reception area, which is also a coffee bar. A rental shop for ecological communication equipment was also designed in this part. Guests of the hostel would have free, unlimited access to bicycles, electric scooters and skateboards.


basement and first floor plans

© Patrycja Janiszewska

Each floor of the hostel consists of a north and south room and a core in the middle with communication and guest toilets. The idea of freely separating small sleeping spaces in each room of the hostel with movable modular walls, which provides privacy and freedom of arrangement, is inspired by Japanese capsule hotels. You can also remove all the walls from a room and create one large sleeping space. Movable modular walls are a steel frame filled with cellulose fiber with good acoustic performance and clad in plywood, inserted into special rails in the floor. These spaces do not have to meet the minimum space requirements of a hotel room because of the sliding doors in the modular movable walls, which are openwork, with a wooden finish. So it is not a separate room, but still part of the room.

schemat roomschemat roomschemat room

diagram of the room

© Patrycja Janiszewska

The suspended ceiling structure consists of a frame, into which are inserted decorative panels for acoustic insulation, lighting and wooden finishes. In the bed structure, due to the small area of the room, there are pull-out bedside tables and lockable cabinets. Each area of the room used for sleeping has direct access to a window, and thus to daylight and air. In addition to mechanical ventilation, natural ventilation is also provided - each room of the hostel is ventilated to the space. In the part of the room set aside as a passageway, there are bay windows where you can sit comfortably with a book or laptop, and they can also serve as additional sleeping areas. Additional lockable cabinets are also provided in the passageway, for possible storage of larger luggage.

wizualizacja room interiorwizualizacja room interiorwizualizacja room interior

visualization of the room interior

© Patrycja Janiszewska

The hostel is intended mainly for young people - students and tourists, so a common room with a kitchenette was designed in the southern part of the fourth floor, creating an opportunity for study, rest or integration. The room can be accessed from the loggia. On the opposite side of the floor, to the north, there are open-space office rooms for the employees of the designed building. The top floor is occupied by a cafe, the exit from which leads to a green terrace on the south side.

I wanted my design to be characterized by fluidity, mobility, variability. That's why I used sliding walls, translucent materials, skeletal structures and racks for interchangeable infill - all of which allow freedom of arrangement and adaptation to changing needs. The interior intermingles with what is outside, with no clear boundaries marked. I also tried to emphasize ecology, so we have the use of bricks from demolition, rainwater harvesting, planting a huge amount of vegetation, photovoltaic panels and encouraging environmentally friendly forms of transportation for guests.


Illustrations © Author

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