Herston Quarter STARS

STARS is set to challenge what we expect from health facilities and change the way people recover from serious treatment, with a design that reflects the latest insights into better long-term care.

The Surgical, Treatment and Rehabilitation Service (STARS) is the first building to be completed as part of the redevelopment of Herston Quarter – an expansive health and wellbeing precinct in Brisbane, Australia, master planned and designed by Hassell.

This best-practice facility is a working model of a connected healing environment – a place designed to improve both the experience and outcomes of patients recovering from surgery. 

By swapping sterile, clinical environments for a bright, welcoming setting, STARS recognises the benefits of exposure to natural light and access to green spaces. It also reflects evidence demonstrating the value of uninterrupted care – staying in the same place, seeing the same medical staff and feeling safe and familiar. 

The facility features a range of places for people to interact – the kinds of settings shown to improve the health of patients. This includes dining areas that break out onto landscaped rooftop decks and lush courtyards, plus extra retail and dining options. 

STARS also strengthens important connections with The University of Queensland (UQ), with a dedicated level equipped with dry lab therapy areas and clinical spaces for students to conduct real-time research. By working alongside researchers, clinicians will be able to put solutions immediately into action, providing a high level of individualised care. 

Ultimately, STARS will improve access to services and patient outcomes, contributing to meeting goals for outpatient numbers and waiting lists.


Australian Unity with Metro North Hospital and Health Service


Yuggera and Turrbal Country
Brisbane, Australia







Design team

Stephen Watson, Kevin Lloyd, Adam Davies, Daniel Kallis, John Irvine, Guy Grigson, David Gowty, Keith Hayes, Tarek Barclay, Carla dal Santo, Chantel Antony, Graham Lowe, Jennifer Greatex, Jared Thorpe, Kevin Hu, Marnie Reid, Natalie Johns, Sandra Forko


Tom Ross, David Chatfield, Scott Burrows
182 patient beds
100 specialist rehabilitation beds
56 surgical inpatient beds

The patient journey underpins the planning for the nine-story, 182-bed hospital. Key interaction areas mark important points throughout the building and assist orientation. High traffic areas like outpatient clinics and the day surgery are located on the building’s lower levels, as well as specialist biomedical engineering services to customise mobility aides to give recovering patients greater independence.

Meanwhile, inpatient areas are on higher floors that have direct access to the landscaped outdoor decks. The surgical floor features seven operating suites and three endoscopy procedure rooms for elective surgery and shorter inpatient stays.

Therapy gyms and recovery areas – the spaces where people spend more time – are integrated with the 100 rehabilitation beds and positioned along the Herston Road façade to maximise views and light and support patients through their rehabilitation.

Commissioned artworks incorporated within the design acknowledge the proven power of art to encourage recovery within healing environments. 

To ensure STARS really did become a person-centred model of care within an integrated precinct, we held over 250 user consultation meetings with everyone from consumers, clinical, allied health and support services to academics, engineering teams and facility and construction management. 

STARS is a working model that challenges and influences how we think about hospitals and what we should expect from health campuses. 

The urban strategies developed for the Herston Quarter successfully navigate an existing site with steep terrain and heritage overlay. The approach reorganises the precinct, revitalising existing heritage buildings, accommodating new buildings, and establishing future sites through the removal of redundant building stock.

A clever insight to remake the terrain has created a new open space with reorganised access to the adjacent heritage buildings. A green court becomes a new civic address at the site’s highest point. Large public steps, a glazed lift, and a bridge signal and manage equitable north – south connections along the steepest and most difficult terrain.

The topographical reconfiguration establishes accessible plateaus for future building sites and connection to a new east – west colonnade along a contour that connects it to the greater hospital beyond.

The edges are activated, permeable, and transparent; open spaces are green, and the landscape is lush and cooling; and park and city views are defended and retained. The finishes are robust and high quality and heritage aspects are visible and respected. Herston Quarter connects to the immediate and broader city through its proximity to adjacent transport networks, bringing amenity to its users and the public.

This forthright urban design on a difficult site supplies opportunities for new accommodation and commercial usage that encourage activation and public access, clearly establishing the Quarter’s new future as more than a health precinct.”

— 2023 AIA QLD Awards Jury


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