The Residence

The Residence will be Brisbane’s newest residential care facility that focuses on the recovery of LGBTQ+ youth who struggle with substance abuse and addiction. It is a holistically responsive design solution to the varied and intricate facets of rehabilitation care that connects to the users through the brain, heart and the skin.

exterior facade

Exterior view of the Residence in the evening which showcases LED lighting embedded in the brick facade.
Arched entranceway into the building with an intercom that allows entry into the space

The design features therapy rooms, communal dining, patient rooms, a rooftop terrace and a sexual health clinic, that all work together to provide state of the art care and healing spaces for these users.


Upon entrance, users are immediately greeted by cuvilinear forms, with a staircase making its way to the level above. A warm colour palette that welcomes the users and makes them feel embraced, also uses materiality that is raw and harsh-reflecting the often difficult reality that is substance abuse addiction. The form contrasts this to allow patients and guests to feel safe. LED strip lighting is expressed, wrapping around a curvatious void that gives insight to the jounery each user is about to embark on-additionally acts as wayfinding.


Corridors simultaneously reflect the neurons pathway inside the brain and wrap around patient rooms- ultimately acting as a skin in the design.
Corridor on level two of the building which features curved walls wrapped in fabric

Addiction is a disease that causes many health complications and likewise, substance abuse is a disorder that involves using too much alcohol or other drugs, that can result in long term brain damage. LGBTQ+ youth are 6-8 times more likely to develop a substance use disorder than their counterparts, which was particularly concerning when finding out that Brisbane has zero solely focusing on this user group. This left a significant gap in the market and opportunity to create a space where this community can feel safe and heal.

Therapy rooms

Therapy room at The Residence, which features sphere structures on the walls and a soft ambience, allowing users to connect to their inner thoughts
Therapy room 2 in The Residence which mimics the feeling of being inside the body, connecting to the deepest thoughts and allowing users to feel comfortable.

Shape and layout of the space is influenced by the grooves and curves within the brain. Users take a journey into their deepest thoughts in an attempt to re-wire the brain.

patient rooms

Patient room with all built in furniture and a polycarbonate wardrobe door, fitted with fabric upholstered walls. Burgundy/warm red

Resting in rooms made from curvatured forms, reflects the love and forgiveness users should give themselves as they lay in bed each night. All patient rooms are fitted with fabric walls and built in services (rather than loose furniture) for safety for both the patient and the staff. Entrance to rooms are concealed to remove ‘clinical’ feel of the space. Doors on patient rooms acts as behaviour incentives (removal of doors due to negative behaviour). Colour psychology is implemented throughout the design with blue associated with calmness and is proven to lower blood pressure, whilst the deep greens and reds act to warm patients and connect to nature.

Patient room with all built in furniture and a polycarbonate wardrobe door, fitted with fabric upholstered walls. Forest Green
Patient room with all built in furniture and a polycarbonate wardrobe door, fitted with fabric upholstered walls. Blue room
Patient bathroom with blue tiles, relating back to colour psychology and calmness

rooftop terrace

The design explores the concept of curvilinear spaces being queer and not ‘straight.’ Soft spacers inherently allow users to feel nurtured, relating back to the sensitivity of the heart. Overall, the design pays attention to detail for a sensitive user group and in addition responds to a significant gap in the market for health care.

Benson Smith

Benson is incredibly passionate about the industry and the way that he can contribute to improving the quality of life through design. Benson loves all good design, however his passion for Interior Design is accentuated within the health sector, driven by his experience working at a hospital. Benson's values are expressed in all of his work, with inclusivity, diversity and user experience at the forefront of his design ethos.