Make it Right Homes in NOLA

/ Photographs © James Ewing/OTTO

Over the past five years, the Make it Right Foundation in New Orleans has been realizing its commitment to build 150 affordable, green storm resistant homes for families living in the Lower 9th Ward. The foundation, established by Brad Pitt, has completed seventy-five homes with the time and efforts donated by local and international architects such as Gehry Partners, Morphosis, Kieran Timberlake, Pugh+Scarpa, and McDonough+Partners.

Photographer James Ewing shared the documentation of his visit to the Make it Right Homes of New Orleans, citing the designs he most admired by Shigeru Ban, Adjaye Associates, Hitoshi Abe, and BiLD.

More on Make it Right and the homes after the break.

BiLD / Photographs © James Ewing/OTTO

More than 4000 homes within this neighborhood were destroyed in August of 2005 by Hurricane Katrina with the flooding of nearly eighty percent of the city. The vast devastation left the city paralyzed and the Make it Right Foundation is giving the community a chance to rebuild a stronger resilience to this type of disaster. The homes are equipped with storm resistant and water management systems, and are considered LEED Platinum by the US Green Building Council. It allows families a chance to restabilize their lives through home-ownership and rebuild a sense of community that was taken away by the storm.

/ Photographs © James Ewing/OTTO

All four examples presented by James Ewing are rooted in a clarity of structure, use of material and blending of indoor and outdoor living space. Ewing notes that the Adjaye house has a second story that makes the entire roof function as an outdoor living space – an extension of house. The BILD house, he writes “does a great job of using inexpensive off the shelf materials to create elegant and functional details”.

Shigeru Ban / Photographs © James Ewing/OTTO

The homes have a minimal aesthetic but are clearly considerate of the simplicity afforded by the materials and the need to design a succinct, functional and sustainable single-family home. Ewing writes that the Shigeru Ban house has “a striking clarity of form” and that Hitoshi Abe’s design profits from a plan that has reconfigurable uses for growing and evolving user needs.

Hitoshi Abe / Photographs © James Ewing/OTTO

The Lower 9th Ward is still somewhat of a tourist attraction noted by the “Katrina Tour” buses that make their way periodically through the neighborhood. “We had mixed feelings about our role as voyeurs here,” writes Ewing, “but this is the kind of design that needs to be celebrated. The world probably needs more projects like this.” The landscape between the homes is lush with vegetation. And in areas where families have already moved in community gardens are springing up.

Adjaye Associates / Photographs © James Ewing/OTTO

The foundation also considers itself a laboratory for the testing of new construction techniques, technologies and materials that are storm resilient and affordable with the hopes of making this effort available to families in communities across the country. Make it Right also encourages residents to make use of the land, inspiring community gardens and site-specific landscape strategies. Planting native plants, creating rainwater collection depressions in the landscape, the use of xeric (dry) plantings, community gardens, green roofs and street trees are among the design strategies employed and encouraged by the foundations efforts.

A map and closer look at the homes can be found here and here.

Photographs provided by James Ewing Photography and the Otto Archive

Cite: Vinnitskaya, Irina. "Make it Right Homes in NOLA" 29 May 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 Aug 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=238232>

4 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down +3

    Why don’t they live in apartments? Why does every american family need their private residence?

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      because there isn’t the infrastructure to support high density living in the lower ninth, and there probably never will be. the industrial canal severs many ties the neighborhood should have to the city.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    This foundation is listed as a non profit that charges to in effect sell the homes to a co-owner.

    However Katrina folk do not have the money to purchase and maintain such technology excellence.

    So this is as stated is a lab to test new technology so why should a resident pay anything to live in it?

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    A foundation means non profit.
    Therefore, the misunderstanding here is that
    No this property is not provided
    Free
    And
    Money is required to build it, to own it, to suport and maintain it.

    Therefore the property is expensive and is commercial in nature not provided to homeless 9th Ward Hurricane victims for free

Share your thoughts