Maison Stéphane Hessel – youth hostel in Lille

Maison Stéphane Hessel

JDS Architects (Julien De Smedt)

Lille, Boulevard Paul Painlevé 235



We had been on a city trip to Lille a long time ago. A few weeks ago we visited the city again (very briefly). The main reason to drive to Lille was to get a front of a dishwasher. It is a strange story, but that front was only available in France. Lille was the closest city, so we had a day trip. I had this building on my “architecture to see” list for some time (yes, I really have such a list …) so this was the moment.

Maison Stephane Hessel

My title is actually not completely correct. The building contains not only a youth hostel, but also a day care center and a social center. The assignment was to design a building for the 70 employees and visitors of the center, the 200 youth hostel visitors and 70 children from the day care center.


The three programs are not worked out per floor or in separate buildings, but in the three points of one building with a total surface area of 7000 m². A courtyard has been created where the three ages meet in the center of the building. The points of the triangle have been raised and act as both an entrance and a place for public activities. In this way the boundary between inside and outside is blurred.


Of course, the colored sun blinds on the side of the youth hostel are striking, the rest of the building merges with the urban area. The façade is made of green fiberglass panels. You really see the fibers and this gives the building a special image.

Youth Hostel Lille


JDS Architects

Lille, Boulevard Paul Painlevé 235


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