Minneapolis Hospital Adding New Surgery and Critical Care Center

By HCO Staff

MINNEAPOLIS—An HGA-Designed Surgical and Critical Care Facility has broken ground in the Twin Cities at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, aiming to offer advanced, cutting-edge healthcare for years to come.

The new HGA-designed surgical and critical care facility at Abbott Northwestern Hospital is the largest facilities project in Allina Health’s history. The new center will reimagine the hospital campus, revitalize infrastructure, and optimize essential services, providing a foundation for the future of Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Allina Health, a non-profit health system offering care to communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. As Allina Health’s quaternary care center, Abbott Northwestern is consistently ranked as the number one hospital in the Twin Cities, offering advanced subspecialty care for the most complex patients across the region.

Translating Research into Transformation

Driven by an increasing demand for private beds and procedure rooms, Abbott Northwestern Hospital began working with HGA in early 2021 to expand their campus. HGA collaborated with the Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Allina Health teams in the design of a highly integrative master plan for the addition of a surgical and critical care facility, along with phased removal and repurposing of aged facilities. A human-centered design process was utilized, translating user and staff experience research into well-defined experiential principles and design goals.

“We designed the site to open the hidden, unconnected campus outward to the surrounding community,” said Jennifer Klund, Principal at HGA.” She continued, “Public spaces and circulation systems will knit the existing hospital, surrounding buildings, and the new bed tower into a coherent complex with one clear front door and simple, understandable navigation.”

Constructed by long-term partner Mortenson, the facility is scheduled to be completed in 2026, part of a campus improvement plan taking place over a 10-year period. The surgical and critical care building converts Abbott Northwestern Hospital’s iconic Founder’s Mall into a welcoming arrival garden. Placement and massing of the building dramatically increases Abbott Northwestern Hospital’s visibility while minimizing its bulk from the surrounding neighborhoods. When complete, the addition will include 192 new beds, 30 new operating rooms and over one-half million square feet of new construction on a tight, urban site in the center of an operating campus. The design of the building complements a traditional urban campus with a fresh new look, melding effortlessly into the existing architecture.

Flexible for the Future

To prepare the hospital for the future of healthcare, HGA also established a new patient room and unit prototype. At the direction of hospital leadership, the patient room and unit plan use the DIRTT prefabricated construction system that uses a universal interface with interchangeable parts, allowing for reconfigurations, adaptations, and adjustments, as well as a longer life cycle in most cases. This will be the first large-scale inpatient use of the product in the State of Minnesota.

To support rapid advances in medical technology and surgical technique, new operating rooms were designed with flexibility and adaptation in mind. Patient rooms were designed with enhanced technology and accessibility and comfort features. The interventional platform provides new operating rooms and procedure spaces that address both patient outcomes and staff engagement. Modeled through simulations to demonstrate operational efficiencies, the platform offers long-term flexibility to respond to the changing nature of surgical case mixes over time.

Clarifying an Urban Setting

The roof of the interventional platform is designed as a roof garden, giving families and caregivers a landscaped refuge with great city views in a busy urban setting. The roof garden is also a central focal point for over 50% of the new and existing inpatient beds on campus. A new, glassy skyway connects all elements of the facility and provides visitors with dramatic views of the Founder’s mall as they traverse the campus.

Wayfinding and access to the Emergency Department has been clarified, and a large public art installation has been added to the Emergency Department parking area, creating a more intentional relationship with the adjacent residential street, and providing a welcoming experience for patients.

In preparation for construction, which was scheduled for two phases, HGA designed a 1,100-foot extension to a temporary skyway retaining intuitive wayfinding along the familiar main path to the hospital. The skyway also provides access to existing departments for visitors and materials during construction. Phase I of the project includes building a new entry over the old and demolishing an adjacent main parking ramp. Once the new surgical and critical care facility, parking deck and skyway are in place, the temporary connection will be removed.

To ensure constant hospital operations HGA designed a series of enabling projects that included a temporary front door, a skyway link to the new parking deck, interim materials management routes, and utility improvements needed to modernize the campus infrastructure. Designed to act as steps along the way to the final state, these enabling projects minimize the number of temporary structures and limit construction waste.

“The Abbott Northwestern Hospital campus has evolved and grown since 1887 and our commitment to this community has never wavered,” said Lisa Shannon, president and CEO, Allina Health. “We are creating a sustainable campus for the future that will support advances in health care delivery, meet the needs of our best-in-class workforce and enhance our value to the communities we serve.”