Testing Heart of the City Design Concepts in Peace Plaza


Prototypes in Peace Plaza

Destination Medical Center (DMC) and the Heart of the City design team collaborated with local prototypers to test out design concepts for Heart of the City Phase 1 and create an engaging public realm. The design team includes Minneapolis-based landscape architects Coen+Partners in collaboration with RSP Architects, El Dorado, Latent Design, Kimley-Horn Associates, and Fluidity.


The prototypers were selected based on work presented at the 2016 Rochester Prototyping Festival. The design team felt these prototypes resonated with Heart of the City public realm work and invited the prototypers to test out a 2.0 version of their original concepts. The installations will be on display in Peace Plaza through mid-November.

The prototypes include:

The Artery

“The Artery.” Eric Anderson created this art piece signaling the profound moments of hope and healing happening within our health care institutions every day. He linked the lighting installation with real-time data from Mayo Clinic to light up at these events: a birth, organ transplant, radiation treatment completion, chemotherapy treatment completion, and a cancer-free pathology report.

“Info Alley.” Sean Baker installed a media wall to represent “Info Alley,” an interactive multimedia display that enhances an otherwise underutilized space by projecting live video, event listings, social media activity, and other relevant community information. The installation aims not only to inform and guide but to bring us together into a space where we can interact and exchange ideas.

“Multi-Lingual Pedestrian Signage.” Edgar Mtanous has developed a prototype for “Multi-Lingual Pedestrian Signage” that not only serves the traditional purposes of directing people between all the DMC sub-districts but also aims to promote the branding capacity of intentional language selection, the heightened awareness of place recognition through symbol identity, and sub-district connectedness facilitated by wayfinding. The project’s mission is to advocate for a collaborative, healthy, and vibrant community by forming stronger cultural and infrastructure links between Rochester, its citizens, and visitors.

Community Couch and Flexible Fountain

“Community Couch” and a “Flexible Fountain.” Coen+Partners with Latent Design are testing two concepts.

The Community Couch is a gathering element that can be used on a daily basis for lounging, meet-ups, or a place to sit and have coffee. It can also function as stadium seating for performances or act as an elevated stage. The installed prototype represents a just slightly smaller scale to what may be built permanently in this space.

The Flexible Fountain at Heart of the City is imagined as a water element that can be a playful environment for kids and adults during the summer or transform to a lit up magical piece in the evening. It can be transformed into a still contemplative scrim of water in the fall and turned off entirely to be used for events at any time. The Flexible Fountain prototype is represented by a grid of 6’ poles that are spaced on a 3’ x 3’ grid which approximates where jets would likely be. The fountain would intersect with the gathering element so that, at times, you could be sitting in the middle of a beautiful water feature.

All of these ideas will continue to be developed as they find a permanent home in Heart of the City. We invite you to experience each of these prototypes and discuss your reactions with the design team, the prototypers, and with each other through mid-November.

The original teams for the 2016 Prototyping Festival are included below:

The Artery
Eric Anderson, local artist
Rose Anderson, Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation
Diane Klein
Matthew Moore
Anthony Huber, local artist
Nel Pilgrim-Rukavina
Grace Wengler

Multi-Lingual Pedestrian Signage

Edgar Mtanous
Alicia Stulen
Ian Mwangi
Hitan Kandar
Matt Ennis

Info Alley
Sean Baker, founder Med City Beat
Eric Anderson, local artist
Rose Anderson, Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation
Thomas Yung, designer/developer at Mayo Clinic
Aaron McGrath, software engineer at Propelware