Health & Housing Flexibility: Prefabricated ‘wet rooms’
Source: Australian Design Review
From Maitiú Ward’s “Interview: Healthabitat’s Paul Pholeros“:
Since 1999, Healthabitat has completed 184 projects in remote and impoverished communities, improving the condition of 7308 houses for over 42,000 people. Formally established in 1994, the organisation has a history that stretches back to 1985, when its three directors Dr Paul Torzillo, Stephan Rainow and Paul Pholeros first met in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, north-west South Australia, where they had been thrown together to work with a team of local Aboriginal people to help improve local health and housing conditions. Since that first meeting, the trio has gone on to orchestrate a slew of research programs, lauded not only for the wealth of hard data they have produced, but also for genuinely improving conditions.
For a number of years, Adrian Welke of Troppo Architects has been working with Healthabitat in the design and construction of health buildings in remote areas. It was with Welke that Healthabitat first starting exploring the potential of prefabrication as a means of delivering high quality buildings, efficiently.
Welke’s most recent project with Healthabitat is a prefabricated wet room unit, designed to be ‘clipped on’ to the back of existing residential buildings. Containing shower, laundry and toilet, the unit addresses the top three of the nine healthy living practices – ‘washing people’, ‘washing clothes’ and ‘waste removal’. As a prefabricated unit it is also a very efficient means of delivering what are traditionally the most expensive components of a residence (the laundry, toilet and bathing areas). In keeping with Healthabitat’s modus operandi, then, the project focuses resources in areas where they are likely to have the most impact, and after a successful prototyping stage, units are now rapidly being deployed to indigenous communities across Australia.
Read the full interview by Maitiú Ward.
Healthabitat’s Housing for Health program recently won the 2011 World Habitat Awards. Read more here.