Continuing to live up to it’s name, Make it Right, the charitable architecture foundation founded by actor Brad Pitt following Hurricane Katrina, has just announced it will be erecting duplexes for it’s next round of rebuilding in New Orleans’ storm-ravaged Lower 9th Ward. “Before the storm, there were a number of duplexes and doubles in the neighborhood,” says Make It Right executive director, Tom Darden. “Families who want to come back to the Lower 9th have been asking us to build them so extended families can live together.
The foundation enlisted 14 local, national, and international firms to each come up their own duplex design. Six of the firms, including Interior Design Hall of FamersPugh + Scarpa, were part of the first round of firms that volunteered to design single-family homes for the site. The eight first-time Make It Right firms include Frank Gehry’s Gehry Partners from Los Angeles and the Japanese-based Atelier Hitoshi Abe. The first two Make It Right duplexes are expected to break ground by mid-August. Currently 32 families are either living in a Make It Right home or have one under construction.
U.S. Green Building Council President, CEO & Founding Chair Rick Fedrizzi declared that the neighborhood being built by Make It Right New Orleans is the “largest and greenest community of single-family homes in the world” at the annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York. Make It Right, which was announced as a “commitment” at the 2007 CGI meeting, has already LEED Platinum certified 13 homes and is building at least 150 sustainable, storm-resistant LEED Platinum homes in a Lower 9th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans wiped out by the Hurricane Katrina and that was nearest to the disastrous breech of the Industrial Canal levee.
“In transforming the Lower 9th Ward, Make It Right is showing us how we can transform those parts of our nation that have fallen behind the most, whether through neglect, poverty or disaster,” President Clinton said. “Make It Right offers a blueprint for how to build homes that instill pride and combine to form communities of hope and opportunity. By following the Make It Right model, we can generate the green collar jobs our economy needs to move forward and advance building practices that reduce carbon emissions, while at the same time growing neighborhoods where families can thrive.”
The USGBC’s LEED green building certification system is the leading program in the U.S. for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. Its residential LEED for Homes certification system promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes. Green homes use less energy, water and natural resources, create less waste, and are more durable and comfortable for residents. More than 3,000 homes have been certified since the system’s inception two years ago, and fully 40% of those homes qualify as affordable housing. The green and energy-saving features of Make It Right homes include solar power, geothermal heating and cooling systems, tankless water heaters, ENERGY STAR appliances, superior insulation, and efficient lighting. In addition to being the “largest green community in the world,” the neighborhood is also home to the largest congregation of high-design homes created by different architects working on the same project. Twenty-one acclaimed local, national and international architects have contributed designs to the project.
“The devastation caused by Katrina and delay in rebuilding created an opportunity to turn tragedy into a turning point in home building in New Orleans and other cities,” said Tom Darden, Executive Director, Make it Right. “We did not want to repeat the mistakes of the past, but to build homes that were green and affordable, strong enough to weather the next storm and made from sustainable materials.” – Brad Pitt.
– Ashley Raynor