Mayo Clinic Square Design Process
Our design goal for Block E was to completely transform the existing enclosed, superblock structure. We wanted to open the building up to become a vibrant, legible, positive contributor to downtown Minneapolis. Major design moves included reimagining the façade so it aligned within an urban context and improving the interior navigation so the building became a vital connector between the central business and entertainment districts.
The unwelcoming, windowless, limited exterior of the original structure was transformed into a Minneapolis-modern, transparent, dynamic, welcoming and safe structure. The result is a vertically mixed-use building with restaurants on the first floor, Class A office space on the second floor, and a world-class athletic training facility on the third and fourth floors. The diverse program inspired our exterior design. A performative weave of materials – glass, stone, metal panel and scrim – allow the façade to respond to the different needs of the users while creating a cohesive composition on all four sides of the building. The simplification of the exterior materials aligns the building within its context, activating the street level while remaining legible at the larger, urban scale.
Inside, our goal was to create clear visual pathways linking Hennepin and First Avenue, allowing commuters and visitors easy access while improving safety. Major design moves included the creation of a new main entry on Hennepin Ave. and a light-filled two-story atrium that takes advantage of the existing skyway connection. The improved vertical circulation highlights key tenants such as the Timberwolves and transforms the building into a true destination.
Understanding that this building is at the threshold of many different downtown districts, our design team studied how best to adapt and transform the structure at any time of day, or in support of various activities within and without. The exterior of the building comes alive at night through the use of LED lighting, signaling its presence as a business, entertainment, sports and cultural centerpiece.
Today, Mayo Clinic Square is a high energy, modern, elegant and safe urban destination.