Image courtesy of EwingCole


Essential Health, Vision Northland


Duluth, Minn.



Located on the bluffs above the western shore of Lake Superior, Essentia Health is constructing a new flagship hospital that will streamline services, redefine the continuum of care and invigorate downtown Duluth, Minn., with engaging public amenities. 

Architecture for a breathtaking site as designed, the new health care campus provides spectacular views of Lake Superior by taking advantage of the topography that rises from the waterfront. The project combines the renovation of multiple existing health care facilities and a major new inpatient and outpatient building that extends down a hillside to the city’s major commercial and entertainment center. 

At the main entrance of the new facility, visitors access the grand public lobby, a public restaurant, retail amenities, Benedictine chapel and a conference center. The major public pedestrian circulation spine runs along the perimeter of the building, allowing for dramatic views of the cityscape and waterfront. Elevators transport patients and visitors to the various medical programs and support functions and to the main clinic lobby located 110 feet from the main hospital entry level and two full city blocks to the south.

Image courtesy of EwingCole

Patients and visitors may also access the roof garden on the southern roof overlooking Lake Superior. Serving as both a patch of green in the urban landscape and a means of absorbing stormwater, the roof garden will be a serene place for downtown office workers, hospital personnel, patients and visitors to relax and enjoy the view. The Superior Street entrance provides an active and dynamic presence for Essentia Health on the city’s most vibrant street, contributing to the expanding urban vitality of downtown Duluth.

A multistory inpatient bed tower will rise above the roof garden and serve as a beacon signifying the presence of state-of-the-art health care services and Essentia’s commitment to the economic vitality of the city and the region.

Essentia envisions a hospital environment that is comfortable, welcoming and efficient for patients, visitors and staff. Public areas will have the engaging warmth of hospitality spaces, with natural materials and themes of healing, nature and the rich narrative of the region’s history and people. 

Vision Northland will consolidate facilities and improve efficiency and the delivery of state-of-the-art health care. Additionally, the new facility creates a nexus for downtown recreation, economic revitalization and visionary health care services for the people of Duluth.

WANT TO BE FEATURED? Visit the American Society for Healthcare Engineering's Architecture for Health Showcase to learn more about participating.