07 Nov Vision Northland – Minnesota Hospital Design Braces for Winter and the Future
Vision Northland – Minnesota Hospital Design Braces for Winter and the Future
Essentia Health’s Vision Northland project, located on the shores of Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota, includes approximately 928,000 square feet of new construction and roughly 120,000 square feet of renovation to existing facilities and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023. The project has created a civic asset capable of being both the standard bearer of healthcare in the region and a physical celebration of the community it serves. This formidable project is a healthcare destination for Northern Minnesota. While receiving the benefits of world-class healthcare, facility occupants can enjoy year-round expansive views of Lake Superior.
New construction adds a nine-story Out-Patient building, a 17-story In-Patient tower to Essentia’s existing Duluth clinics, and a two-story over-build on existing Duluth Clinic DC-1. The In-Patient tower reaches a height of 290 feet, topped out with a mechanical penthouse and helipad. The project had to overcome many complicated region-specific issues, including wind loads from Lake Superior, heavy snow loads with drifting, a frigid winter climate necessitating close attention to thermal continuity through the exterior building envelope, and the steep slopes of existing grade. The complexity of many of these issues was compounded by the new project’s location being constructed adjacent and attached to an existing operating hospital. In addition, design and construction occurred during a global pandemic. The design team also had to work closely with the construction team to deliver early structural packages to meet the demanding construction schedule. Construction documents for foundations and early steel mill order packages were delivered to the construction team four months and eight months before the overall architectural design was finalized.
The project is built into the hillside of Duluth, Minnesota, on the shore of Lake Superior. The facility climbs the hillside starting from the shoreline of the lake at Superior Street, rising 100 feet in grade change up to 2nd Street. The footprint covers approximately 600 feet, spanning an alley and frequently traveled 1st Street. The street crossings create several long-span transfer conditions. In addition, the new facility is also built integral with many existing buildings across multiple city blocks. See Figure 1 for a building cross section.