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01 Sep 2021

Hassell Completes First Stage of Major Health Precinct in Brisbane

Hassell Completes First Stage of Major Health Precinct in Brisbane

The recently completed Surgical Treatment and Rehabilitation Service building by Hassell overlooks Victoria Park in Herston, Brisbane, and avoids the sterile, clinical environments often associated with healthcare environments, instead offering a welcoming setting immersed in the natural environment.

It's the first structure to be constructed as part of Herston Quarter's larger makeover, which includes a sprawling health and wellness zone masterplanned and designed by Hassell.

The nine-story, 35,000-square-metre structure provides 182 patient beds, 100 specialist rehabilitation beds, and 56 surgical inpatient beds for clients Australian Unity and Metro North Hospital and Health Service.

The masterplan for the precinct responds to existing heritage buildings at the site's core, including the Robin Smith Dods-designed Lady Lamington Nurses' Home, built in three stages between 1896 and 1931, the late Victorian-era Lady Norman building, the 1920s Edith Cavell building, and the Spanish Mission-style Lady Lamington towers, according to project leader Kevin Lloyd.

“We had this collection of really lovely building that were all underutilized and our thinking was about how we could bring life back into the heart of the campus, by activating the heritage core and bringing new users into the site,” said Lloyd.

The project proposes for a sequence of new structures around the site's perimeter. The STARS building is located on the south-eastern corner, facing Herston Road and bridging the gap between the street level and the heritage core, which is about 25 metres above.

A sequence of subtle level adjustments and pedestrian throughfares that traverse the length of the building provide direct access to landscaped outdoor areas as well as connectivity to the heritage buildings and future structures planned to the west of STARS. A landscape-integrated staircase known as the Spanish Steps will lead from street level to the heritage core, situated between the STARS building and the future structures.

“It’s a kind of transitional movement, where you move through the landscape up towards the higher points,” said Lloyd. “The stair connection is in line with Herston Station, so you can come out of that station and go directly into the STARS building off Herston Road, or you can continue up the staircase and it takes you either into the Heritage core, or you can move into a transitional level that heads into the main body of the hospital.”

For ease of mobility, high-traffic facilities like outpatient clinics and day surgery are positioned on the lower levels of the building, while inpatient areas are on higher floors with direct access to the landscaped outdoor decks.

Therapy gyms and recovery rooms are incorporated with the 100 rehabilitation beds and positioned along the Herston Road front to maximise views and light while also assisting patients in their recovery.

The STARS building recalls design characteristics of historic structures in its physical form, as well as relating to them through subtle spatial layout.

“The expression of the base of the elevation relates back to some of the modelling within the Lamington Tower buildings,” said Lloyd. “It’s obviously a new building but there’s a reference back to the past.”

The STARS building is centred on a natural courtyard, and every aspect of the structure has been created to have some connection to the outside.

“As you move around the edge of the building you’re constantly referencing back to the landscape,” said Lloyd “When you’re within the building, you can orientate yourself by your position and your relationship back to the courtyard.”

“That feeds into the psychological effects of connecting with landscape and the importance of that connection to patients’ recuperation. That whole thinking process is really, really important and that’s going to be present not just in the STARS building, but all future aspects of the masterplan.”

The $340 million STARS facility opened to patients in March.