Today actor Brad Pitt’s organization Make It Right (MIR) released 14 new designs that will be among the 150 houses reconstructed in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. With this second round of schematics, MIR is offering residents the opportunity to rebuild affordable duplexes in addition to the single-family schemes introduced in 2007.
“We always wanted to expand the design catalog, and doubles is a typology that’s used throughout New Orleans and the Lower Ninth Ward,” says MIR executive director Tom Darden. “It’s a demand we were eager to meet.” The duplexes are expected to house extended families as well as renters.
The duplexes were designed by 14 architecture firms, including eight that are new to the MIR program. The studios include: Atelier Hitoshi Abe, Bild Design, Billes, buildingstudio, BNIM, Constructs, Elemental, Gehry Partners, GRAFT, Kappe Architects, MVRDV, Pugh + Scarpa, Waggonner & Ball Architects, and William McDonough + Partners (a longtime consultant to MIR and responsible for its Cradle-to-Cradle criteria).
Most of the new designs feature pared-down geometries that harmonize with traditional regional expression. Exceptions, such as the schematics created by buildingstudio and Graft, another longtime friend of MIR, take on a sleeker appearance, while MVRDV's splayed houses and the angular asymmetry of Pugh + Scarpa's design are more exuberant. For the most part, the designs sport flexible floor plans, forge a close relationship with street life, and integrate outdoor and landscaped spaces with architecture.
Two examples from the group should break ground in mid-August.