Dan Abraham Health Living Center



Rochester, MN



Mayo Clinic



1.0 acres



220,000 / 2,439 sm



Wellness Center including nutrition, spa, fitness areas, group exercise rooms, locker facilities,  natatorium, relaxation studios.









Healthcare / Recreation



Association with BWBR, Dewberry Architects



Delivering on State-of-the-Art Medically Based Wellness


Founded in 1889 in Rochester, Minnesota, Mayo Clinic has become one of the premier healthcare organizations in the world.  Today, Mayo has over 30,000 employees, and each year more than one million patients from all 50 states and from more than 150 countries are seen at one of the Mayo Clinic facilities. Mayo Clinic offers highly specialized medical care, and a large portion of the patient population are referrals from smaller clinics and hospitals from across the United States.  With the 3 areas of focus, patient care, research and education, Mayo Clinic continues to pioneer the way in which healthcare is delivered, documented and taught.


In 2005, via a generous gift by Dan Abraham, founder of Slim-fast,  Mayo embraced a project that would serve as an employee and patient wellness center.  The interconnectivity to the rest of the campus via underground pedestrian ways drove the planning that would define the project’s organization vertically.  To further connect the project to its context, a large landscaped sunken courtyard anchors the lower level.  From there, the users move vertically to the street level and then onto the upper levels.  Large openings throughout the floors allow for views up and through the upper levels.  This strategy connects the café up to the running track on the 4th level.  With the first phase completed in 2007, the employees enjoy a state of the art facility for fitness and wellness.


In 2011, the second phase of the Living Center was realized.  This was a vertical expansion of 4 floors on the original building and it’s a patient centered wellness center.  The spaces are designed to support Mayo’s commitment to wellness and entail demonstration kitchens, assessment areas, a spa, mind-body studios, and exercise areas.  The upper most floor houses a roof deck and special events area that provides views over the expansive Mayo campus.

The design of the facility is always in deference to the Gonda Building, Mayo’s primary patient care facility.  While some of the use of stone is similar to this building, the terra-cotta cladding is used to contrast the other facilities on campus.  Ample glazing is used strategically to breakdown the scale and further enliven the facades, but also to allow for views into and out of the various programmatic areas.


The new Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center aims to provide its users a convenient, non-threatening way to entice people to experience healthy transformations, as well as to provide a vehicle that promotes social interaction within an environment that exudes connectivity, and being one with nature. The now built and highly trafficked structure demonstrates that through rigorous collaboration among clients and other consultants, the architectural design team is able to meet high demands and exceed expectations for providing a facility that will be looked upon as the new model for wellness centers across the country.