Brad Pitt, half of do-gooder duo Brangelina has got something wicked-cool up his sleeve… While filming a project in New Orleans, a pink-clad CGI house on set struck a visual chord with him.  The vibrant-hued structure’s contrast with its muted surroundings became the catalyst for a vision Pitt could not set aside… a vision of rebuilding a ravaged New Orleans with affordable green homes.  An avid design junkie, Pitt made a call to Berlin-based design firm Graft and discussed an idea of drawing more attention to the Lower 9th Ward, a neighborhood in New Orleans that was dealt a particularly harsh blow from hurricane Katrina.  The product of their conversation would become the Pink Project, an on-site art installation of 150 full-scale pink ‘houses’.

This installation however would turn out to merely be a colorful facade, for the real work is being done now… Each colorful structure is a stand-in for a real home to be built in its place… a home that will feature state of the art eco-building strategies and be donated to a family affected by the storm.  Non-profit Make It Right was created as the platform for building these homes, and a call for architects was made.  And call they did… some of planet Earth’s most prominent architects, that is!… 4 local, 4 national, and 5 international firms were selected for presenting projects that followed the guiding principles of safety, affordability, sustainability, and high design quality.  Let’s take a peak at some of these designs, shall we?

Here’s a rendering from New Orleans firm, Billes Architects.  Nice hybrid touch in the driveway!… I also enjoy their use of clerestory windows, which will flood the interiors with natural light.

This one is from Kieran Timberlake Associates out of Philly.  Loooove the semi-permiable driveway and green screen applications.  Also note the raised foundation… added protection for future floods.

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A great drawing from another local Louisiana firm, Concordia.  This one is undeniably my fave… great elevated plan again, this one with that large front porch… Nothing says New Orleans like a porch that can accommodate three generations… And someone in that fam is doin’ alright for themselves, driving an $80k Caddy!

And finally, from London comes David Adjaye’s rendering with its large solar system, which benefits both the utility bill and creates shade for summer afternoon mimosa on the rooftop patio.

Families that are accepted into the program go through a process in which they get to choose their favorite of the 13 home designs.  That doesn’t sound so bad… your choice of an affordable, modern abode from a premier architect!  In all honesty though, what Brad Pitt has done here is absolutely incredible… with a simple vision, he took a neighborhood that was completely devastated and neglected and will give it back to the community as a sustainable model for the 21st century.  An inspiring notion of hope and opportunity.

If you are interested in contributing to this development, donations are being taken on the Make It Right website.  So far, 80 of the 150 homes have been subsidized and contributions range from purchasing solar panels for a home to a can of zero-VOC paint…. Again, kudos to everyone involved with this noble cause.  I’m looking forward to seeing some of these homes in development.

-j

About Joshua Foss


Joshua is a leading voice for transformational change. He is the editor of Metro Hippie, co-founder and director of development of the Ecala Group, and adjunct faculty at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He is also an ambassador for the Living Building Challenge and is a frequent speaker at national conferences, trade shows and summits.