Scheme for Mayo Clinic includes two buildings linked by a skybridge

Foster & Partners has been appointed to design a new hospital in the United States which practice founder Norman Foster has described as a “complete rethinking” of hospital architecture.

The practice is collaborating with New York-based architect Cannon Design and Rhode Island-based construction firm Gilbane Building Company on the scheme in Rochester, Minnesota for healthcare provider Mayo Clinic.

An initial phase of the redevelopment of the existing hospital campus consists of two new nine-storey buildings linked by a skybridge, but the design allows the possibility for the buildings to nearly double in height in future.

Under the plans, the two blocks would converge on a central arrival and drop off area, leading into a double-height social amenity level where patients can rest and recharge. 

Behind this will be spaces for laboratories, consultation rooms and treatment rooms, and a series of internal ‘neighbourhoods’ arranged around a series of double-height atriums containing winter gardens.

A universal grid with generous floor-to-floor heights seeks to allow clinical spaces to change over time and respond as healthcare continues to evolve. Care environments will also be served behind the scenes by highly flexible technological infrastructure containing mechanical, data and robotic delivery systems.

Foster said the scheme was a “revolutionary moment for medical care and a complete rethinking of the traditional hospital building as we know it”.

“Our design centers on natural light, views and connections with nature – to facilitate new breakthroughs and help deliver the highest level of care, with warmth and compassion,” he said.

> Also read: Fosters reveals new images of Oxford R&D campus

Cannon Design principal and health practice co-director Michael Pukszta added that the proposals were “about actively reshaping healthcare environments for current and future generations. 

“We’re creating a future where physical spaces and digital capabilities not only coexist but seamlessly converge, pushing the boundaries of integration to uncharted territories. 

“It’s a career-defining project for everyone on our team filled with so many ‘category-of-one’ moments.”

Mayo Clinic was founded in Rochester in 1864 and now runs major campuses in Arizona and Florida, employing more than 70,000 staff.

In 2020 it brought a six-storey facility in central London, adjacent to the BBC’s Marylebone headquarters.

Foster & Partners’ other recent health projects include a 30,000sq m cancer research facility in Oxford designed for US billionaire Lawrence J Ellison, which was approved earlier this year.