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Design and architecture have hit the mainstream, with a flurry of new TV shows pitching experienced and amateur designers, stylists and renovators into the reality TV show format. Following the launch of Grand Designs Australia in late 2010, this year’s new additions include The Block, Top Design and now Channel Ten’s The Renovators – created by MasterChef producers, Shine Australia.
The Renovators, which premiered on Sunday 24 July, challenges contestants to transform six housing types into ‘real estate gold’. Hosted by landscape gardener and TV presenter Brendan Moar, the competition will be judged by Moar along with design consultant and writer Robyn Holt, master builder Barry du Bois and architect and director of PHOOEY Architects, Peter Ho. Australian Design Review spoke to Peter Ho about the show and his transition from architect to TV presenter.
Can you explain what the show’s all about?
It brings together 26 of the best renovators from around Australia, who compete to renovate six houses. The competitor who makes the highest percentage profit from their renovation will be crowned Australia’s Best Renovator, and wins the total profit from the sale of all six houses. Along the way their real estate, architectural design, landscape design, styling and construction skills are tested in challenges where they can win prizes for their renovations or be eliminated from the competition.
Have you found it to be a big transition from architect to TV presenter? What does your role involve there?
The transition has been the hardest thing, but also lots of fun. My role involves being a mentor to contestants, a judge in challenges, a demonstrator of spatial, furniture and sustainable design, and a commentator on architecture and design. Sometimes I’m a builder’s labourer and others a shoulder to cry on – and a keeper of my own integrity.
Do you think architecture translates well into reality TV?
Reality TV has reminded me why I love being an architect. It gives me the opportunity to help other people do what they do in their lives better. I’m entertained and delighted by the discovery that reality TV can be that vehicle.
What do you hope to get out of the show?
I hope to contribute to The Renovators by making architecture, design and our sustainable future more accessible to the building industry, the global economy and mainstream Australia.