Flagship project for sustainable architecture: The new campus at the hospital of Barmherzige Schwestern Ried

In spring 2023, a special project commissioned by the hospital of Barmherzige Schwestern (Sisters of Mercy) in Ried, Upper Austria, was ceremoniously opened. The new campus and the Vinzentinum school area provide space for a modern nursing training facility. This combines sustainable construction with a pleasant atmosphere and resource-saving operation. The architecture by DELTA puts the theme of wood first in all considerations.

The new campus at the Hospital of the Sisters of Mercy Ried, with space for around 220 pupils and students, went into operation in September 2022. On a gross floor area of 7.500 m2, the building contains a technical college and a nursing school, modern office space for the administration as well as several workshops. As part of the construction project, a new building was attached to the existing building. The preservation of the patient garden was central to this process, and the existing basement also had to be considered. DELTA’s architecture team managed the project from the initial feasibility study to the final handover.


Timber construction for comfort and functionality

The timber construction as a hybrid solution optimally combines aesthetics, functionality, and sustainability at the new campus. The high degree of prefabrication of the timber components made it possible to reduce the required building services and shorten the construction time. A photovoltaic system on the roof, the timber frame construction with structural beams and a cross-laminated timber ceiling, as well as high-quality wood-aluminium windows save energy and provide comfort.  Learning and working is easy in the light-flooded rooms throughout the building.


The decision to implement an educational building in wood must come from conviction and be supported by all parties involved, because in each construction phase, special rules apply regarding planning, prefabrication, delivery, and assembly. However, the work already pays off in the visual appearance: Wooden visible surfaces, the wooden look of the facade as well as wooden aluminium windows are real eye-catchers at the new campus. The comfort provided by the pleasant and natural building material in harmony with nature is a bonus in later use. The indoor air quality is “smellable” better. A visible supporting structure with supports and beams made of beech round off the pleasant atmosphere.

Regionality creates energy efficiency

The new campus in Ried is also a special project in another respect; it is the first timber construction in the whole of Upper Austria to be realized using beech. As a regional and sustainable raw material, construction beech offers a wide range of applications and is suitable for both the smallest components and large spans. A clay trowel finish and the use of sustainable materials ensure durability and freedom from pollutants on the premises. When selecting the contractors, attention was paid to regionality; this ensured short distances and resource-saving construction site logistics.


Cooling and ventilation are used exclusively in lecture halls and meeting rooms. To reduce operating costs, increased insulation thicknesses were implemented, and CO2 sensors are used to signal to the users when windows in their offices should be opened manually. For efficiency in operation, an energy monitoring system was installed and has been used from the beginning on. The district heating connection ensures perfect synergy with the associated hospital. The ecological concept also includes automatic blind control according to the position of the sun on the south side of the building and a retention system for throttling rainwater.


Good cooperation as a success factor in sustainable building

Tobias Ziegelmeyer, architect at DELTA, is pleased with the successful completion: “In cooperation with the client, an innovative and particularly sustainable project was implemented – and respectful treatment of the existing building was of central importance. Connecting the existing basement and surrounding buildings as well as managing a construction site in the heart of a hospital during ongoing operation were the biggest challenges.”


Wolfgang Kradischnig, co-owner and CEO at DELTA is very attached to the client: “For more than 20 years, we have been privileged to support the Hospital of the Sisters of Mercy in Ried in construction-related matters. It’s great that our long-standing client recognizes the change needed to more sustainable buildings and is promoting their implementation in this remarkable flagship project.”

Image reference: © David Schreyer