Two barracks, a parade ground, a wall, two watchtowers, a “todo por la patria”… A beautiful and wordly valley, mountains that dominate us, a river in its upper course, a crossroad… This is an architectural challenge, but also a social and historical commitment. The transformation of the former barracks of the Bas Valley Guardia Civil in a Youth Hostel is a project that we face with curious eyes: we do not want to sacrifice any of their elements but we want and need to change all its functions.
In this context, the main action that the project suggests us is the construction of a new volume that covers the courtyard, a renewed relationship space between residents with function as dining room, lounge, games room, terrace and reception. This volume, devoid of reinforced concrete, seems to outside as a permeable, suspended wall… inverted. The interstitial spaces between the barracks and the new building act as distributor and access to new Youth Hostel rooms and services, all them located within the old barracks.
The complexity of the project is complemented by discreet detail actions, some of them more functional and other more metaphorical. The south watchtower use as a heckpoint of efficient energy management of the buildin is one example.
Or false randomness of the layout of the new loopholes at the access facade, resulting in the word “hostel” in Braille instead of the historic slogan: “todo por la patria.” It also is an example the detail study of the section of the new volume built with respect to nearby mountains to permit their view from indoors.