We will confess that we at Wallpaper* HQ have a small bias against youth hostels – principally with their association with indifferent design and Spartan sensibilities. The HI Bayreuth, however, has us reconsidering that prejudice.

Located near the university, the 45-room, 180-bed hostel clearly plays to a younger, sporty road warrior, but in its mature and thoughtful design, the Berlin-based studio Laboratory for Visual Architecture more than lives to its moniker. 

The building’s unusual Y-shape informs much of the flow of the interior and exterior spaces. Capped by a skylight, its central atrium is a literal hub that holds and connects over two floors the reception, dining room, kitchen and amphitheatre for movie screenings and performances. Broad timber-decked terraces, meanwhile, lead directly to sport fields and activity zones. The resulting whole is a space that encourages interaction and accessibility without sacrificing privacy.

Aiding the cause are public spaces and rooms that are clad in a mix of natural, recyclable or sustainable materials, concrete, and green and yellow hues. Modular furniture, built-in storage spaces and moveable walls mean that rooms can be easily reconfigured for two, four and six-beds, a quirk to be applauded alongside the fact that the hotel is entirely barrier-free.