The Chapel of the Private University of Education, Diocese of Linz

The premises of the Private University of Education, Diocese of Linz were newly erected (1970 - 1975) on a greenfield site at the foot of Freinberg. This site was part of the estate of the Salesianum student residence run by the order of the Society of Mary. Planning and construction were in the hands of the architects Franz Riepl and Dr Othmar Sackmauer.

It was the wish of the diocesan authorities to add a spiritual centre to this educational institution - in keeping with the biblical tradition of God’s presence in our daily lives and with the theological concept formulated by the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).

From the central meeting point between the main college assembly hall and the cafeteria, a number of steps lead up to a square room whose atmosphere is reminiscent of a secure haven and a shelter from the bustling world. From high above, a narrow shaft of light enters the pyramid-shaped room; the sky itself is blocked out by an array of visual barriers suspended from the top. And in the light filtering down from above, liturgical services are held, with the congregation gathering around the solid-wood altar at the centre of the gently sloping floor.

The ochre colour scheme of the walls, with lighter shades towards the top, provides the backdrop for a series of frescos by Giselbert Hoke arranged on three levels. Their purpose is to prompt silent contemplation of questions of faith and life.

At the top of the pyramid, four figures are depicted circling the room. Their thoughts appear to revolve around the ultimate questions of life: Where do we come from? Where are we going? Who are we?

Along the middle level, the motif of the Tower of Babel expresses how, according to biblical narrative, the process of salvation takes shape in a world in need of redemption: The Tower of Babel, the Crucifixion and the Last Supper epitomise the perilous aspects of being human. By way of contrast, Mary and the Heavenly Child are depicted in warmer and friendlier colours and shapes.

At the lowest level, biblical quotations are written along the walls of the dark and shadowy gallery supported by pillars around the room. They provide guidance and assistance for humans on their journey through time.

Consecrated in 1981, by the then diocesan bishop DDr Franz Salesius Zauner, the chapel constitutes the spiritual centre of the Private University of Education, Diocese of Linz. With its blend of biblical symbols and modern artistic techniques it aims to inspire humans to dwell on transcendental questions.