The paper presents a new setup for the two-stage two-spool facility located at the Institute for Thermal Turbomachinery and Machine Dynamics (ITTM) of Graz University of Technology. The rig was designed in order to simulate the flow behavior of a transonic turbine followed by a counter-rotating low pressure (LP) stage like the spools of a modern high bypass aeroengine. The meridional flow path of the machine is characterized by a diffusing S-shaped duct between the two rotors. The role of turning struts placed into the mid turbine frame is to lead the flow towards the LP rotor with appropriate swirl. Experimental and numerical investigations performed on the setup over the last years, which were used as baseline for this paper, showed that wide chord vanes induce large wakes and extended secondary flows at the LP rotor inlet flow. Moreover, unsteady interactions between the two turbines were observed downstream of the LP rotor. In order to increase the uniformity and to decrease the unsteady content of the flow at the inlet of the LP rotor, the mid turbine frame was redesigned with two zero-lifting splitters embedded into the strut passage. In this first part of the paper the design process of the splitters and its critical points are presented, while the time-averaged field is discussed by means of five-hole probe measurements and oil flow visualizations. The comparison between the baseline case and the embedded design configuration shows that the new design is able to reduce the flow gradients downstream of the turning struts, providing a more suitable inlet condition for the low pressure rotor. The improvement in the flow field uniformity is also observed downstream of the turbine and it is, consequently, reflected in an enhancement of the LP turbine performance. In the second part of this paper the influence of the embedded design on the time-resolved field is investigated.