Friday May 4th 2012 the completely renovated Stayokay hostel welcomed its first visitors. Personal Architecture designed this hostel in the woods near Soest in The Netherlands The existing, oudated building is transformed into a modern, light and above all inviting hostel. Structures from three different eras of the last century, together with a new restaurant have been combined into a square surrounding a patio. Floating terraces, integrating existing trees, and the optimized sight to the surrounding forest, make the hostel a guest in the forest. Personal Architecture worked with Stayokay before on hostels in Valkenswaard, The Hague and Utrecht-Bunnik. In 2009 they delivered the hostel in the famous cube-houses in Rotterdam.
The existing hostel, originally a school with schoolmaster's house, was severely outdated. All kinds of built structures from all kinds of periods resulted in a disjointed collection of objects. The terrain was very cluttered, there was little outward visibility, the entrance was blocked on the side and the schoolmaster's house was not used.
Demolition of the existing 'central building', a dark and low-grade structure from the sixties, generates light, air and space for the other buildings. A square shape is designed, surrounding a private, serene patio. Walkways in the patio form the link between the main building, the new wing, the conference building and the dormitory. The individual buildings that form the square differ from each other in terms of construction, size, material and appearance. The ensemble is joined together by the new wing, a pergola and wooden slat screens. In order to further strengthen the unity, all facades are covered with vertical wooden Douglas parts, with the exception of the historical buildings.
The main building, dating from the early twentieth century, is restored to its former glory. The brick building sticks out a bit in relation to the rest of the ensemble and is in all respects the new heart of the hostel: here are the main entrance, reception, lounge, kitchen and café. A large atrium with a new mezzanine provides spatial dynamics and sufficient capacity when busy.