A youth center in a monastery needs more space for people to live, pray, and create. This design takes the value the users find in the existing into account. Integrating the new structure into the existing context is achieved by 13 little houses with gabled roofs which are clustered to a village-like composition. The wall around the village is stitching together the cluster of buildings.
The Monastery of Nütschau, Germany, needs more space in their youth center, which is named “Just Be.” The existing two houses are too small for the events and retreats held in the center. The program contains meeting rooms, dormitories, kitchen, offices and living spaces for instructors. One part of the youth center is designated to pilgrims and is, therefore, a quiet space. The most substantial part of the facility has to serve children, teenagers, and families as well as the instructors, who live in the youth center all year around. The monastery, instructors of the youth center, and returning visitors know and value the existing house as a place full of memories. The gabled roofs, brick walls, and wooden furniture hold a sense of home and belonging for many. For this reason the design strategy revolves around preservation of the existing. This design takes the value the users find in the existing into account.
The Village has three user groups with different wants and needs. The “Silence Wing” is used by pilgrims and solo travellers for reflection and contemplation. The residental building is used by supervisors during their time in the village. The youth center is used by children and young adults as housing, educational and meeting space as well as for contemplation and reflection.
The three wings are in separate buildings. The courtyard is part of the circulation and connects the wing with each other.
Community is taking place in the village like “marketplace”, the large courtyard, as well as in the event space.
The character of the new buildings also mimics the house types found in the surrounding area. In order to create a feeling of being protected and safe,
the cluster of houses is surrounded by a brick wall. As the bricks have gaps between them, the wall is translucent and transparent. Therefore the visual connection to the surroundings remains open.
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