Jana Mentges

Jana Mentges

Inclusive Hostel for Aachen. RWTH Aachen (Germany)

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Jana Mentges

The UN convention from 2006 on the rights of persons with disabilities declares their rights “to work, on an equal basis with others” (United Nations, 2006).

This work proposes inclusive working and leisure facility for both able-bodied and disabled people in the form of a hostel. It is a place to encounter and get to know each other and should therefore not only set an example for more inclusion within and through architecture but also in society. These buildings require a detailed examination of the potential users, their needs and requirements for the architecture. At the same time, an intensive analysis of design options is necessary in order to avoid the standard solutions in barrier-free construction.

The site is located in Aachen city center close to tourist attractions in an urban block which makes use of the whole plot from front to back. Two main houses orientated to both streets accommodate the bedrooms and the common infrastructure. They are connected by a passage which houses community rooms such as a kitchen and a library. A bistro and reception are located on the ground floor to link the hostel with its neighbourhood. A patio creates the center of the design. Entrance and the outdoor area of the bistro and hostel are housed here. The outdoor area has its own character created by the surrounding architecture of the building.

To be able to fulfil the above-mentioned social task of the hostel, great importance was attached to the design of the common areas. They take up a comparatively large amount of space in the hostel and thus offer a lot of space for encounters and community in order to reduce the fear of contact and prejudices. All areas are naturally and consistently accessible. Even the barrier-free usability of the furniture was considered.

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