Urban Hostels. Camping in an indoor landscape. Barcelona as case study





hostel, tourism, city, bed, shared dormitory


Recent decades have seen a significant growth in the number of hostels in major cities, in most cases occupying buildings which were originally destined for other uses. This article aims to explore the flexibility of the typology of the hostel in its adaptation to existing buildings, paying special attention to its defining feature: the shared dormitory. The research takes Barcelona as a case study and analyses the changes which have occurred  in the distribution of bedrooms and the composition of the bed – the hostels’ sole private space. The tendency in the design of the individual bed is to create a room in itself, both in terms of its organisation and its use, which means the typology of the hostel can adapt itself easily to period buildings. However, the renovation of existing buildings in order to accommodate them to their new use has increasingly meant greater compartmentalization, which brings us to a point of contradiction. The research allows us to reflect on cultural resistance towards the abandonment of the bedroom and invites comparison with relevant examples of solutions at different moments in history in which the bed acquired the role of the bedroom detaching specificity from its surroundings.


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