Heart of the City is in the core of Rochester, Minnesota: two city blocks situated between the world-renowned Mayo Clinic thriving zone with numerous hotels, shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. This project is a collaboration with RSP Architects, 9-Square Community Design, HR&A Advisors and Kimley-Horn & Associates to discover, dream, design, and implement a holistic strategy for the Heart of the City. Through this, the project seeks to create a vibrant, world-class urban downtown that reflects and amplifies the true character of Rochester.
The project negotiates a balance between a contemplative and healing atmosphere that reverberates from the clinic, and a vibrant public space that celebrates downtown life. A central plaza provides an inviting pedestrian-friendly zone with a wealth of opportunities to gather, from relaxing and walking among the gardens to attending festivals, concerts, pop-up markets and other city events. A unique feature, and a focus of this plaza is an interactive art space. This space invites residents and Mayo visitors to immerse themselves in a community sky-viewing experience, bringing together two populations in more meaningful interaction. In support of this theme, a large, data-driven art piece changes colors when miracles occur at the clinic: purple for a birth and yellow for an all-clear for cancer. This reveals just a small piece of the magic that occurs daily at the clinic, and the result is a compelling public space that is uniquely Rochester. The Heart of the City is where life is celebrated, both in the gatherings with family, friends and community, and in in the contemplative moments in the middle of the city that create a shared sense of awe.