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Back to nature


Set in the rolling woodlands of Bergen op Zoom, this hostel and education center is a sustainable and multifunctional building that sits in harmony with the natural surroundings. Stayokay’s Hostel, Natuurpodium’s education center and Klimbos’ outdoor adventure company’s new development sits in complement with the Brabantse Wal landscape

The organizing principle underlying this, is a blurring of landscape, building, and independent program (recreation, education and outdoor sports). Storey-high façades provide spectacular views of the surrounding forests and a patio garden at the center of the first floor forms the building’s “green heart”, giving visitors a firsthand experience of this exceptional area’s diverse local ecology.

In the approach to the design task, which included a combination of renovation and new build, P·A worked closely with the three organizations to translate their individual requirements into a multifunctional, and sustainable new building. As a result, space is flexible, and promotes a shared use of exhibition, meeting room, and workshop occupation. These can be partitioned off with large sliding doors, resulting in a 25% reduction in building size, when comparing the design with the orginal programs of demands.

This conservation was also applied in the repurposing of old building material into bespoke furnishings for the new spaces, as well as designing-in dual purpose wherever possible. The building itself is comprised of bio-based materials, which can be disassembled and repurposed for future use. In this respect, space, material and purpose work in complement to ensure a strong cohesion between landscape, building, and time.

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