Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mayo Campus

I do not like hospitals. My experiences with hospitals have not for the most part been positive ones. I find them so depressing and unnerving that it is difficult to even visit people I know when they are confined in one. Ditto with most doctor or clinic offices. My brush with the medical profession is one of a necessary and very unpleasant evil. You can imagine, then, my concern about committing to a lifestyle of constant exposure to clinics, hospitals and waiting rooms in support of my friend who has come to Mayo for life-giving treatment. I'll gladly do it for her, I thought, but it won't be pleasant. I was totally unprepared for what a positive experience, even uplifting being on the Mayo campus would be. We stayed at the Kahler Grand Hotel for the first week, conveniently located in the midst of the campus. The two shots above were taken looking north (The Kahler on the right, Rochester Methodist Hospital straight ahead, clinic buildings on the left) and east (The Kahler on the left, clinic buildings on the right, a pedestrian mall in between leading to Peace Plaza). The Kahler has an interesting and long-term link with the Mayo Clinic which you can read about here.

As you can see in the first picture, the street past the Kahler dead-ends neatly in a little culdesac so vehicles can pull in to drop passengers either at the clinic or the Kahler. Beyond that deadend is a lovely plaza divided into various seating areas with different focuses. This post shows the fountain at the Children's Garden section. Above is a part of the Annenberg Plaza with a raised grassy area. At first we wondered if it was ok to go into that grassy area as there were no paths, just steps leading up. But heck, there were benches there that could only be used if one walked on the grass. We decided that yes indeed, this was to be used, and took off our shoes to feel the cool grass on our bare feet.

Across from this is a street-level dome letting light into the cafeteria below, and which has facets reflecting the buildings surrounding the plaza.

The Plumber Building is probably the oldest around this plaza and warrants its own post. So interesting the juxtaposition of old and new architecture.

Left: Head-on view           Right: Side view
Across from it is another clinic building with this beautiful marble facade and suspended sculptures.

As the various buildings have gone up over the years, care was taken by the architects to integrate design features to play off of and enhance one another. These windows reflect a bowed version of the building across from it. And the wavy exterior of the building directly across from the Kahler helps direct the chimes of the carillon in the Plummer building so that they are heard throughout the downtown area.

This link gives you a click-&-drag 360 degree panorama of the plaza. Don't just circle around at street level - you can also move up to look at the buildings and sky. Because Mayo serves the international community, almost everything you see has a reference to that. For instance, the star at the center of the plaza contains marble from all over the world.  Generous donations from families who have used the clinic's services have funded so much of the public spaces and art. 

Seriously, so much art, so much uplifting bright space, so much hope exuding from a place I would expect would only remind one of the fragility and shortness of life. And look - there in the plaza my signature tree assuring me that I will be ok and not lack for creative inspiration when the time comes. This all on my first evening in Rochester. 

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