New Orleans

In an effort to help rebuild the Lower Ninth Ward, an area of New Orleans ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, actor Brad Pitt commissioned 14 architects to design sustainable homes for his “Make It Right” project. This initiative to build 150 sustainable and affordable homes for Lower Ninth Ward residents involved architecture firms Adjaye Associates, Billes Architects, BNIM, Concordia, Constructs, Eskew Dumez Ripple, Graft, John Williams Architects, KieranTimberlake, Morphosis, MRVDV, Pugh + Scarpa, Shigeru Ban, and Trahan Architects.

The resulting models incorporate green features, such as passive solar design strategies, natural daylighting and ventilation, and use of recyclable materials. Many draw upon Southern architecture traditions, like the shotgun house, camelback house, and Creole cottage, but with a green twist.

For example, Adjaye Associates' design places the porch on the upper level of the home, and shades it under an array of solar panels. In the design by Pugh + Scarpa, the abstract geometric style of the shade screen facade, made of recycled wooden pallets, was inspired by the patchwork quilting traditions of Gee’s Bend, Alabama. Concordia's design breaks the traditional slope of a shotgun roof to maximize the southern slope for solar energy and rainwater collection. 

The designs also meet standards to help prevent future flood damage; all are raised at least 5 feet above ground. Morphosis took further safety precautions: it designed a home that can float. And BNIM's home comes with a portable solar energy pack.