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Youth hostel to float into view on the canal in 2013

A view of the future floating youth hostel. - ©A2M

2011-12-26 – A youth hostel which is original to say the least is due to open in Brussels in late 2013. It will be a floating hostel – a first in Belgium – which will be moored at the Beco dock basin, on the Quai des Péniches, on the right bank of the canal. It will be built in a dry dock, then towed along the canal to its final location.
Its 78 rooms will have a capacity of 180 to 190 beds. The building, designed by the architectural firm A2M (Sebastian Moreno-Vacca), will have three levels: the bedrooms will be spread among the two lower levels, while the upper deck will contain a reception area, a bar, a restaurant and extensive outside sun terraces.
The Minister-President of the French Community Commission of the Brussels Region  (Cocof), in charge of Tourism, said as he unveiled the project that this new tourist facility ‘will meet the growing demand for cheap overnight accommodation for young people. Brussels is a popular destination for young people from Belgium and Europe. (...) This is therefore a growth sector that we must continue to develop.’
The hostel will be constructed in timber frame and placed on a prefabricated floating barge made of reinforced concrete. The structure’s environmental design will also be original: the hostel will be self-sufficient for its water supply, drawing water from the canal and purifying it. Designed to the ‘passive building’ standard, the hostel should also be energy self-sufficient, in particular through a pump system which uses the warmth or coolness of the canal water depending on the season. It is an infrastructure design that has won an award for its innovative and environmentally forward-thinking nature. In the ‘Exemplary Buildings’ call for projects organised by Bruxelles-Environnement in 2009, the project obtained a grant of more than 230,000 euros.
The overall budget is 7.5 million euros: 4 million euros will be provided by Beliris, 400,000 euros by Cocof, and the balance by the future operator, which has yet to be appointed. Minister-President of the French Community Commission says that ‘the total cost of this project is comparable with more traditional hostels, even though with a passive structure which virtually meets zero emission standards, the projected savings will be up to 500,000 euros after ten years.’

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