Hostel in the via Francigena

Andrea Rossi,Giovanni Vaccaro
Università degli studi di Firenze - Facoltà di Architettura

Project idea

Our design idea was born from the study and observation of the Charterhouse, this architectural complex that from the beginning of the Middle Ages offered travelers and pilgrims passing through the streets of Europe a place to stop and stay.
Therefore, the Charterhouse with its spaces and its protection has always been synonymous with hospitality and refuge. We have therefore identified in it the main archetype of hospitality and we have extrapolated the concepts that make up our project. Usually the Charterhouse is made up of a square or rectangular scheme, surrounded by walls to which the monks' cells or prayer spaces and other common spaces are grafted. These are the highlights of this type of construction, therefore they are the main characters of the design idea.

Project description

The building, like a charterhouse, develops along a cloister, and is composed of three 38m arms on each side. Externally, the building is covered in brick, it is closed, reserved and massive, punctuated by small windows that stand out from the ground up to the roof and by two larger openings, one of which is the entrance. The arm that houses the chambers originates from the rhythm of the cells of the Charterhouse, such as that of Ema or Calci, in which the succession of cell and courtyard created a regular cadence. We transposed this alternation into the project by reversing what was the original ratio in a short cell ratio of 2: 1. There are two double bedrooms, one quadruple and two dormitories for twelve guests; each cell has a size of 9.70x4.60m with a small mezzanine overlooking San Miniato.
The rhythm generated by this arm has proportioned the entire project, each space of the two remaining arms of the cloister is marked by the void that is generated between one cell and the other, adding this basic unit of 1.55m, we have conceived the other rooms . The arm relating to the entrance hosts the reception with office and bathroom, a warehouse, a laundry room and the caretaker's house throughout its development.
In the arm opposite to that of the rooms and orthogonal to the entrance we find, along its development, the refectory, the common bathrooms and the common room.
The refectory and the common room have their largest openings towards the cloister and towards the arm of the rooms, which however open only towards the landscape, this choice is motivated not only by the view towards San Miniato but also by the fact that these two arms of the building represent the two fundamental moments of a pilgrimage and a path of growth or singularity and plurality, which we therefore wanted to leave separate in this game of openings and views. At the end of the arm where the refectory and common room are located, we have created the chapel, this detached from the common room to ensure that its presence can be read both from the inside, along the complex, and from the outside. The chapel then detaches by two units and also like the rest is composed of the cell-empty space rhythm generating a rectangular-based space which is accessed by a door. Once inside, go down by means of three low steps to the altar which behind it has a small opening that illuminates the entire space. The three arms, as mentioned, develop around the cloister thus giving rise to a square shape that in reality has no termination, is incomplete, thus leaving an unfinished space as it was for the cloister of the church of San Genesio and leaving intact the relationship that this ancient city, now disappeared, had with its rival San Miniato.

Technical information

We started with an aerial photogrammetry of the area and developed the intervention area in DWG format, while the contour lines were obtained thanks to the use of the Geoscope. The structural system has not been studied because the state in which the project was carried out requires a compositional study. The only external envelope consisting of brick bricks with details and top coating in corten, the external and internal flooring used with two different exposed concrete colors and the addition of a more precious material such as marble for the pavement and the altar of the chapel.

Copyright © 2023 INSPIRELI | All rights reserved. Use of this website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and use of cookies.