PLEASANT AMBIANCE IN A MODERN RURAL DOCTOR’S SURGERY

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Dr. Clemens Schwarz is a third-generation general practitioner, and also a man with a very clear vision of what his new building was to look like. The 34-year-old commissioned a new, modern medical centre in the Upper Austrian community of Eggelsberg. The main focus was on the well-being of the patients: as well as a bright and friendly atmosphere, he wanted the room temperatures to be pleasant all year round – despite the glass roof. In addition, there were to be no great temperature variations or any draughts. Our complete AIRCONOMY® system ticked all the boxes for the new medical centre.

The vision behind the Healthcare Center in Eggelsberg in Innviertel in Austria was that of a multifunctional group practice. The modern medical centre with a pharmacy provides space for a general practitioner, two surgeons, a physiotherapist, a psychotherapist, a nutritionist and the Lambert medical supply store. The owner and founder of the new centre is Dr. Clemens Schwarz, a local physician who is wholeheartedly committed to his patients and practice. The GP is the third generation of his family to provide medical care for the residents of Eggelsberg and the surrounding communities. While his father and grandfather had their surgery in the former community medical practice in the Ibm district, Dr. Clemens Schwarz decided that it was time for new premises: “For me it was important to ensure that Eggelsberg and the surrounding area would always have access to good health care”, says Dr. Schwarz. And although the general practitioner may be everything one imagines a rural doctor to be, he is anything but an ordinary building owner and played a decisive role in planning the construction work. 

AN ORGANIC ENTITY 

Completed in 2017, the single-storey new building has the appearance of a modern monolith. “We kept the building shell inward-facing, with only a few openings allowing views inside”, says architect Walter Hartl, describing the façade design. Despite in the inward focus, continuous window bands and the 3 x 8 meter glass roof above the patient registration area ensure that as much light as possible floods the building. The confident modern stance of the façade continues on the inside. Architecture and furniture merge to form an organic whole in the reception area and the waiting room. Bands along the walls in a light cherry wood finish connect the rooms. In the waiting room they are featured in the centrally positioned seating group, which can also be converted into a row of seats. “This allows the room to be used for lectures and seminars”, explains Walter Hartl, who was also responsible for the interior design. In the reception area, two green walls, each 4 m² in size, ensure good air quality and create a pleasant atmosphere. One factor that was especially important for the owner was to ensure that the medical practice was not austere and that the look and feel was not too sterile. Three treatment rooms, an emergency outpatient clinic, a laboratory and a spacious therapy area are arranged in a star shape leading from the reception area. The layout of the rooms was planned to reflect the needs of patients and staff and all areas are fully accessible. The result is a building that optimises the processes in the healthcare practice and offers patients and staff a bright and friendly atmosphere. 

HIGH MEDICAL STANDARDS 

“I want the patients to feel very comfortable in the new centre”, says Dr. Schwarz. And one key factor to achieving this is the ambiance inside: many medical practices have high standards for the temperature and ventilation of their surgeries, especially because many patients pass through the rooms every day. Manual ventilation was out of the question at the Healthcare Centre due to the relatively closed building shell and the noise from the adjacent main road. A controlled ventilation system was the best possible solution. Not only was it important that all rooms had a constant supply of fresh air, but the system also had to operate silently so that it didn’t interfere with doctor-patient communication. “For patients with headaches or tinnitus, for example, loud or monotonous noises can be very unpleasant”, explains Dr. Schwarz, ever attentive to his patients’ needs. Strict hygiene regulations must be met in a doctor's practice, which is why it was important for Dr. Schwarz that the ventilation system was hygienic and easy to clean. Room temperatures should be pleasant at all times – especially in summer, when heat accumulates under the glass dome and skylights. It was also important to distribute the temperatures evenly throughout the room and avoid draughts. “We also wanted to avoid having a pool of cold air at floor level, as this can present problems for patients with vascular diseases in their lower extremities”, says Dr. Schwarz. 

HYGIENIC FRESH AIR 

After considering many options, the client opted for our complete AIRCONOMY® system, which combines a controlled ventilation system with heat recovery and a warm water underfloor heating system with an integrated cooling function. AIRCONOMY® meets the client’s requirements perfectly and provides the Eggelsberg Healthcare Centre with an optimum supply of fresh air. The Evotherm 1000 F ventilation unit was installed in the building services room and the air is distributed in the floor build-up to the individual rooms in a star shaped layout. The filtered, fresh air flows underneath the heating pipes in the underfloor heating system. It is then pumped into the rooms through the inconspicuous air outlets in the floor in front of the windows; thanks to the low air volume flow there are no draughts. The filter technology ensures that pollen and dust do not enter the building, thus complying with the Healthcare Centre’s exacting hygiene requirements. Our ventilation system, which is certified by the Gelsenkirchen Institute of Hygiene, is also supremely easy to clean. 

The AIRCONOMY® system module serves as a heat exchanger and brings the fresh air exactly to the required room temperature. The integrated heat recovery has an efficiency of as much as 97%. In combination with hot water underfloor heating, this ensures pleasant room temperatures and at the same time saves energy as the low flow temperatures ensure very low energy consumption. In summer, heat accumulates under the glass roof and roof windows in the ceiling of the medical centre. This is where the cooling function and the ventilation system work together to ensure an even temperature distribution in the rooms thanks to the reversible heat pump. Patients and staff benefit from pleasant thermal conditions all year round. Dr. Schwarz is proud of his Healthcare Centre in Eggelsberg: “The collaboration with the other doctors and health consultants under one roof is a great benefit for our patients because communication is fast and efficient”, he says. The building opened over a year ago and our HVAC system is still functioning perfectly, ensuring that everyone benefits from fresh air at the right temperature. There’s one other small dream that Dr. Schwarz would still like to fulfil: he has a vision of his Healthcare Centre not only providing the best level of care, but also being used as a teaching practice and helping to boost prosperity in this market community.