Portrait by Narelle Sheean

Read: Designer Catchup: Leah Heiss

Date: July 17, 2015

Author: Dermot McGuire

Read: Designer Catchup: Healthabitat

Date: July 17, 2015

Author: Dermot McGuire

With CUSP about to come a close on 15 August at QVMAG, we’ve set out to discover what our 12 designers have been investigating, creating, and experimenting with since CUSP first launched back in 2013.

We caught up with architect and Australian Design Honouree Paul Pholeros, one third of the trio behind Healthabitat to discover their latest projects, including critical housing and health solutions for communities affected by the recent Nepalese earthquake

Nepal Earthquake – Village Development Project
Architect Paul Pholeros is determined to help locals in Nepal rebuild their homes and lives after May’s devastating earthquake.After providing immediate shelter for families who had lost almost everything, Paul and his company Healthabitat, along with Rotary Australia, plan to head back to Nepal after the wet season to help build stronger, earthquake resistant homes.

To date, Healthabitat have raised over $80,000 for the construction of new homes for communities devastated by the quake.

Thanks to these funds, the Healthhabitat team has been able to develop immediate actions like providing shelter for families before the wet season, restoring sanitation, building places for families to store, prepare and cook food, and supplying personal health items.

The long term goals for the team in Nepal include the demolition of damaged houses and preparing for rebuilding after the wet season and providing families with technical and financial support to build earthquake resistant homes.

Every dollar donated benefits the teams and villagers on the ground.

For more details and to pledge your support, visit the Healthabitat website: www.healthabitat.com.au


Ultimate Design Challenge

A well-respected architect, and one of our Australian Design Honourees, Paul Pholeros’ work is literally changing lives.

After taking up the “ultimate design challenge” of South Australian Elder Yami Lester to help his people stop getting sick, Paul and two colleagues, founded Healthabitat – an organisation that improves living conditions in Indigenous communities.

Since the ‘80s, Healthabitat has improved 8000 houses and the health of more than 50,000 Indigenous Australians. Their work has been so successful, other countries are now following suit.

Learn more about Paul’s amazing work, and check out how he’s helping victims of the Nepal earthquake, on the Healthabitat website: www.healthhabitat.com.au

Sydney architect Paul Pholeros is working to reduce poverty


Architecture, Environment, and Affect

Associating housing with health doesn’t seem all that obvious. But to architect Paul Pholeros and the team at Healthabitat, it’s not only obvious but of vital importance.

Healthabitat have worked to improve the living environments of Indigenous people in both suburban and remote areas of Australia. It’s a great reminder of what the good of architecture can do!

Paul spoke recently with Ebony James Chow on Radio Adelaide 101.5 about his work with Healthabitat, how the organisation got started in remote South Australia, the simple things to improve living standards & the global work they are now doing. Follow the link to listen online:


Health in the home

Think your house can’t make you sick? Think again.

Architect and co-director of Healthabitat Paul Pholeros has spent the last 30 years improving the living and health conditions of Indigenous communities, fixing problems in over 8,000 homes nationally.

Recognised in Venice at the 2012 architecture biennale, Healthabitat’s program has been emulated around the world. In 2011 it won the World Habitat Award.

Using a checklist, Healthabitat tests 250 items in every house, fixing problems as needed.

One of the biggest issues? Washing facilities.

In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald‘s Ray Edgar in February Paul said:

“Washing is the antidote to the sort of bugs that cause common infections of the eye, chest, ear and skin that permanently damage those organs. They leave a life-long remnant. By the age of five they can’t see, hear or breathe as well. Even skin infections increase the chance of renal failure at 40 years.”

Check out the rest of the interview on the Herald’s website: Healthabitat goes to work on the houses that make children sick

TED Talk: “How to reduce poverty? Fix homes”

In late-2013, Paul Pholeros spoke passionately at TEDxSydney on the subject of improving health through housing.

The key insights: think beyond medicine and fix the local environment. In his sparky, interactive talk, Pholeros describes projects undertaken by Healthabitat, the organization he now runs to help reduce poverty—through practical design fixes—in Australia and beyond.

With over 1 million views, Paul’s talk is well worth a watch:


“Stop people getting sick.” This was the brief given to Paul Pholeros, Paul Torzillo and Stephan Rainow when they arrived in Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands in northwest South Australia in 1985.

In response, Pholeros (an architect), Torzillo (a thoracic physician) and Rainow (a public and environmental health officer) designed a methodology to quantify the links between health and housing. The trio (who met for the first time when they arrived on site) became founding Directors of Healthabitat where they established a methodology that became the ‘Nine Healthy Living Practices’ – principles used to systematically assess and address the living environments of disadvantaged Indigenous communities in remote Australia. To date, 195 ‘Housing for Health’ projects, based on these principles, have improved 7,829 houses across Australia, with successful projects also underway in rural Nepal and Brooklyn, New York City.