Hennepin Healthcare, Whittier Clinic

Former Brownfield Site Turned Community Clinic

Whittier Clinic transforms a former brownfield site into a pedestrian-oriented community clinic that reinvigorates a multi-cultural neighborhood in Minneapolis. The 60,000-SF outpatient clinic with 48 exams rooms includes imaging, pharmacy, lab, occupational therapy/physical therapy, sports medicine, and a physician-residency training program.

The façade incorporates a mix of materials that minimizes the building’s massing while colorful accents reflect HCMC’s branding. A public plaza features concrete planters, trellis, and entrance canopy. Inside, tall windows offer natural daylight in common spaces. HCMC’s four main colors-blue, orange, green, and purple-define individual clinic entries and reinforce internal wayfinding. Clinic modules and exam rooms are clustered around a central work area for both nurses and physicians.

Industrial Engineering

HGA’s process engineers engaged staff and community members in interactive pre-design workshops to map out ideal space flow for maximum operational efficiency. The result is a community medical center that truly places the community upfront to deliver ideal healthcare services.

Building on the pedestrian character of Nicollet Avenue along a dense urban site, the building features an architecturally vibrant façade. Inside, each clinic department entry is assigned a strong color, reinforced by an over-scaled graphic image to aid in wayfinding. Within each clinic module, exam rooms cluster around a central work area to facilitate visibility and team communication.

Landscape Architecture

HGA worked diligently with the client group and stakeholders to develop the site as a public amenity. Encompassing an entire city block, lush community parks, and gardens surround the new clinic, offering healing spaces for patients and public gathering destinations for the community.

Building on the character of the adjacent Nicollet Avenue Pedestrian Mall, a public plaza punctuates the primary entrance and clearly delineated walking paths guide visitors through the site. Planters that double as seat walls, benches, flowering native plantings, and overhead trellises create spaces to contemplate and connect amidst the surrounding urban environment.

Sustainable Design

An energy-efficient mechanical system, paired with exterior sunshades to minimize heat gain, ensures conscientious energy use throughout the building. Other sustainable-design strategies include low-VOC paints and finishes, and recycled and rapidly-renewable materials (such as linoleum for all exam rooms).

The brownfield site with former meatpacking plant required considerable site remediation before redevelopment. HGA incorporated several pocket parks and urban gardens into the renewed site, which features low-maintenance, low-irrigation native plants, as well as hardy species that thrive in urban environments. In response to a pedestrian overlay zoned along Nicollet Avenue, nearly half of the clinic’s parking area is underground, further reducing the heat-island effect with less surface parking. HGA also included a new bus stop on the site, as well as numerous bicycle racks.

LEED® Silver certified.