The Cathedral Hostel was designed to occupy numbers 87, 89 and 91 on Cuchillería Street, in Vitoria-Gasteiz Old Town, just a few metres from Santa María Cathedral. The current buildings were built during the 19th Century, although their architectural features are characteristically with little facade and exude the flavour of the European middle ages which is prevalent in the Old Town.
The restoration of these three buildings followed the criteria of the Restoration Master Plan for the Cathedral, conserving the structural, constructional and volumetric typology as far as possible in order to fulfil modern requirements in terms of facilities and comfort. It must also be added that the rooms are sustainable and energy-efficient. All of this was possible thanks to collaboration from institutions such as the Álava Local Government, Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council and the Basque Regional Government.
The wish to conserve the buildings meant that each of them was dealt with on an individual basis. Each of the façades is different and the number of storeys in each one was also maintained. For example, number 87 has a ground floor and four storeys, while numbers 89 and 91 only have three. The rear patios which are adjacent to the apse and buttress of Santiago Chapel that is part of Santa María Cathedral are on different levels and form a pleasing visual and decorative space.
The hostel is on the lower part of the ground floor and the communal areas are on the first floor. The rooms are on the top floors. The main and direct entrance is from Cuchillería 87. One of the aims of the restoration project was to turn the building into a place for visitors to the city, and especially to the Cathedral, to meet and relax. Due to the wide variety of types of users at which it is targeted, the rooms have different layouts (2, 3, 4, 6 and 8-person), with total capacity for 90 people. Two rooms have been specially adapted for disabled people. A small three-person apartment with a built-in kitchen completes the accommodation facilities.
The architectural morphology of the buildings and the need to conserve their structure meant that the communal areas had to be set up as a group of small interconnected areas, without large open-plan spaces.
Sustainability, energy efficiency, disabled access, the use of new communication and information technologies, comfort and safety for the visitors, and detailed information on cultural events in the city and the Historical Region of Álava were given special consideration in the project design and configuration.