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The Heart of the City Design Team has been commissioned by the DMC and the City of Rochester to develop the schematic design for the Heart of The City public space. Our team’s approach has been to discover, dream, design, and implement a place that is truly the heart of Rochester - America’s City for Health.

Coen + Partners (Minneapolis-based landscape architecture and urban design firm) in collaboration with RSP Architects, 9-Square Community Design, HR&A Advisors and Kimley-Horn & Associates put forth a design for the Heart of the City that aims to create a vibrant, world-class urban downtown that is uniquely Rochester.

Heart of the City is Rochester’s central public and civic plaza consisting of two city-blocks situated between the world-renowned Mayo Clinic and an active downtown zone with numerous hotels, shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The Heart of the City establishes a dynamic balance between a contemplative and healing atmosphere that reverberates from the clinic and a vibrant public space that celebrates downtown life. The plaza provides an inviting pedestrian-friendly zone with a wealth of opportunities to gather, from meditating and walking among the gardens to attending festivals, concerts, pop-up markets and other city events. An interactive art space invites residents and Mayo visitors to be immersed in a community sky-viewing experience, bringing together two populations that have expressed a desire for more meaningful interaction. Another large art piece is data-driven to change colors when miracles occur at the clinic, purple for a birth, yellow for an all-clear for cancer, revealing the magic that occurs daily at the clinic; the result is a compelling public space that is uniquely Rochester. The Heart of the City is where life is celebrated; both in the contemplative moments that create a shared sense of awe, and in the gatherings with family, friends and community in the middle of the city.


LOCATION: Rochester, MN

COLLABORATORS: RSP Architects, 9-Square, HR&A Advisors, Kimley-Horn & Associates, Fluidity Design, Latent Design, El dorado

SIZE: 3.6 acres