The future HIRI construction site

Preparations for the new HIRI building

Demolition of former urology building has just begun

Würzburg, May 6, 2021 – The Würzburg Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research (HIRI), founded in 2017, is among the world leaders with its scientific expertise. To make way for its planned new building, demolition of the former urology clinic has now begun on the Würzburg medical campus.  

Founded in 2017 as a location of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig in cooperation with the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU), the Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research (HIRI) is housed on the Würzburg medical campus until its own building is constructed. However, it is becoming increasingly cramped there for its employees, who now number around 90. To make way for the new building for the HIRI as planned, demolition of the former urology department on the medical campus has just begun.

Jörg Vogel, Professor at JMU and Managing Director of HIRI: "HIRI is very successful in attracting third-party funding, and this supports our growth. The importance of infection research for society is particularly evident during the pandemic. The founding of HIRI and its new building in Würzburg are a pioneering signal for the local science location, and I am very grateful that with the future resources in our own institute building, we will be able to further expand our position at the forefront of RNA-based infection research worldwide."

Careful integration

With the aim of constructing a new building that is both forward-looking and economical, an architectural competition was held in 2018. The Munich-based office doranth post architekten was awarded the contract. It is active in Germany and abroad and has already realized numerous buildings for scientific institutions, in Bavaria among others in Munich and Erlangen.

The design for the HIRI is a narrow, longitudinally oriented structure that integrates carefully in terms of form and height into its surroundings on the Würzburg medical campus. At the same time, the corpus with its transparent glass façade, light, open stair hall and asymmetrical cubature forms a contemporary contrast to the neighboring historic buildings from the Wilhelminian period.

The existing building of the former Urology Clinic from 1921, which will now be demolished, is located on Josef-Schneider-Strasse between the Institute for Molecular Infection Biology of the JMU resp. the Rudolf Virchow Center and the Women's Clinic. It no longer met today's economic and technical requirements.

Modern infrastructure

After its completion, expected by the beginning of 2026, the new HIRI institute building will offer optimal conditions for accommodating around 120 researchers on approximately 4,200 square meters of floor space. A modern infrastructure will be created with laboratories, seminar and meeting rooms, as well as numerous open communication and work areas to facilitate scientific exchange. The building project is being financed by the Free State of Bavaria, and the European Union.

The New HIRI Building: Facts and Figures

  • - Client: Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research
  • - Financing: Bavarian State Ministry for Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy and European Union
  • - Investment volume: approx. 60 million euros
  • - Demolition of existing urology building: from May 5, 2021 by the Würzburg State Construction Office
  • - Planned start of construction: 2023
  • - Planning: doranth post architekten GmbH
  • - Capacity: 5-story building with laboratories and offices for approx. 120 employees


Britta Grigull

Press contact

Dr Britta Grigull