Architect works to save lives by improving design

Peter Williams
Peter Williams, founder and executive director of Architecture for Health in Vulnerable Environments (ARCHIVE).
Photo by Michael Wechsler

The cure for global health crises starts in the home.

Architect Peter Williams founded Architecture for Health in Vulnerable Environments (ARCHIVE) to improve global health through better design. Having access to better housing, he says, can prevent tuberculosis, AIDS and malaria.

ARCHIVE has worked to address these health issues in Haiti, Cameroon, Ethiopia and elsewhere.

As Williams told Ensia, the magazine of the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment, his group is about to start work in Nepal, "based on findings that paving floors can improve the cognitive development of a child by as much as 96 percent, reduce the risk of anemia by as much as 80 percent and reduce [the] risk of parasitic and diarrhea-related illnesses by as much as 50 percent.

"This is the exciting way that housing can be a major vehicle for curbing the risk of contracting diseases and therefore the mortality for some of the poorest people on our planet."

Williams is the featured speaker at tonight's Ensia Live event at the Ted Mann Concert Hall on the University of Minnesota campus.


Peter Williams: The Radical Architect Williams was chosen as an "Utne Reader Visionary" in 2011.

Home Sick Home? Architect Goes After Tuberculosis In Haiti "What makes these houses so special? They use stacked ventilation with perforated walls to maintain continuous airflow. They also have less indoor humidity and better access to sunlight." (NPR)

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