Brad Pitt annouces vision for Lower Ninth Ward

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[Images by Pugh+Scarpa Architects]

In December 2006, Brad Pitt convened a group of experts in New Orleans tobrainstorm about building green affordable housing on a large scale to helpvictims of Hurricane Katrina. Having spent time with community leaders anddisplaced residents determined to return home, Pitt realized that anopportunity existed to build houses that were not only stronger and healthier, but that had less impact on the environment. After discussing the hurdles associated with rebuilding in a devastatedarea, the group determined that a large-scale redevelopment project focused on green affordable housing and incorporating innovative design was indeed possible.

The group settled on the goal of constructing 150 homes (one of the larger rebuilding projects in the city), with an emphasis on developing an affordable system that could be replicated.

To demonstrate replicability, Pitt determined to locate the project in the Lower 9th Ward, one of the most devastated areas of New Orleans, proving that safe homes could and should be rebuilt. Pitt hopes that this project would be a catalyst for recovery and redevelopment throughout the Lower 9th Ward and across the city of New Orleans.

Architects

Make It Right’s goal is to join the history of the Lower 9th Ward withcreative new architectural solutions mindful of environmental and personalsafety concerns in order to encourage both the evolution of aestheticdistinctiveness and the conscientious awareness of natural surroundings.

To that end, MIR assembled a team of fourteen local, national and international world-renowned architecture firms specializing in innovative,ecologically responsible design.

The Pugh + Scarpa Design

Pugh + Scarpa’s Make it Right (MIR) home seeks to redefine the concept of ahome into a flexible, multifunctional and adaptable space addressing the needs of today’s modern family, on a limited budget. Offering shelter and comfort, the MIR home breaks the prescriptive mold of the traditional home by creating public and private “zones” in which private space is deemphasized, in favor of large public living areas. The organization of the space is intended to transform the way people live-away from a reclusive, isolating layout towards a family-oriented, interactive space.

The inspiration for the home came from American patchwork quilting traditions, exemplified by the Gee’s Bend abstract geometric style-which is itself influenced by newspaper- and magazine-collages used for insulation on the inside walls of homes in the early rural American South. Recycled wooden pallets are repositioned here as a patchworked shade screen wrapping thebuilding, an innovative alternative to expensive facade materials that lend sits own unique character and texture. The visually expressive pallets impart an imperfect, rough-hewn individuality that we find particularly appealing.We are working with local manufacturers to ensure the viability of this cost-effective and sustainable off-the-shelf product, easily obtainable and readily replaceable. The pallet wrapping is joined by decoratively perforated cement board on the east and west facades, providing both shade and privacy while allowing views out and dappled, indirect daylight and breezes to enter. All the exterior elements will combine and interweave,emerging as a distinctive pattern-making aesthetic.

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[Images and drawings by Pugh+Scarpa Architects]

For more information visit the Make it Right website located at www.makeitrightnola.org

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~ by Open Form Architecture on December 16, 2007.

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