University of Minnesota


East Gateway District Plan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

54 acres, 22 hectares

Architecture, Campus Planning, Landscape Architecture, Master Planning, Urban Planning and Design

“SmithGroupJJR consistently provided the U. of Minnesota with thoughtful and skilled expertise in response to important campus planning and urban design questions relevant to our new campus district.”

—Monique Mackenzie, Capital Planner, University of Minnesota


The East Gateway District Plan envisions a unique academic environment to accommodate new cancer, cardiovascular and infectious disease/neuroscience research in downtown Minneapolis. SmithGroupJJR’s plan creates a contemporary urban identity for this emerging district, clustering buildings into three research neighborhoods, each served by a commons providing shared services, equipment and amenities. This organization encourages collaboration among the district’s varied research disciplines, forging a sense of campus and collegiality.

The plan also provides broader guidance for this emerging area at the eastern edge of the Twin Cities campus. The urban design plan wraps the new district in an arc around TCF Football Stadium, creating two strong visual gateways. An intermodal transit hub augments a new light rail corridor extending into the district, providing strong pedestrian and transit linkages back to the University of Minnesota’s main campus. Inviting open space is provided as a counterpoint to urban density. In both its academic and urban form, the new district establishes an effective gateway to future biomedical research at the U of M.