Essentia Health

St. Mary's Medical Center

Duluth, MN

Headquartered in Duluth, Minnesota, Essentia Health combines the strengths and talents of more than 15,000 employees, including more than 2,200 physicians and advanced practitioners, who serve patients and communities through the mission of being called to make a healthy difference in people’s lives.


The new St. Mary’s Medical Center, designed by EwingCole, represents a monumental investment in the region. The lake-side hospital redefines what patients have come to expect from their healthcare providers with bold, innovative, and sustainable solutions. It consolidates Essentia Health’s facilities, challenges contemporary healthcare design strategies, and improves efficiency throughout Essentia’s healthcare delivery model. Essentia Health and the design team envisioned a hospital environment that is comfortable, welcoming, and efficient for patients, visitors, and staff. Public areas have the engaging warmth of hospitality spaces, with natural materials and themes of healing and nature. Its patient-centric design drives impactful patient outcomes by consolidating adaptable inpatient rooms, procedure rooms, OR platforms, and flexibly planned outpatient spaces.


The hospital consists of 815,000 SF of new construction and 115,000 SF of renovated space of existing facilities. The lower levels of its exterior façade resemble the brownstone homes and businesses along downtown Superior Street. In contrast, the glass façade of the upper levels and patient tower take their cues from the surface of the neighboring lake. EwingCole created an interior setting that celebrates that connection to the outdoors. Visitors experience a vertical, living museum throughout the building’s interior that tells the story of Duluth’s people, history, and natural splendor. Patients and visitors may also access the roof garden overlooking Lake Superior.


The interior colors and textures reflect the landscape surrounding Duluth. This is achieved through native plants, green spaces, and graphics depicting landscapes and places throughout the region. Each floor’s interior design concept is inspired by one of Duluth’s natural landscapes. The inpatient tower has 344 patient beds, 342 of which are in private rooms. The private patient rooms are designed to maximize patient safety, ease care delivery, and provide the visual qualities of an upscale hotel room. Each room includes extensive glass windows providing stunning views, including the lake or the hillside. Wood soffits, wood-look flooring, decorative lighting, and landscape imagery bring the room a sense of hospitality, warmth, and visual interest.