Reconstructing Space, Reconstructing Community in Japan

The Japan Pavilion at the Venice Biennale showed some of the disaster reconstruction work. . Image © Nico Saieh

Still rebuilding after the catastrophic tsunami of 2011, Toyo Ito, Kazuyo Sejima, and other notable Japanese architects, have teamed up on the “Home for All” project to provide community-focused housing to disaster-stricken communities. While the architect-driven initiative seems to be a success, of the Financial Times asks in this exquisitely well-written article: are a set of “starchitects” the right team for the job? (Spoiler: Yes)

Eight Years Later, A Post-Katrina Report Card

A landscaped pedestrian path that was part of the construction efforts post-Katrina. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

In the wake of , design charettes involving the community led to many proposals, ranging from the large-scale (establishing Gulfport as a major harbor city) to the more personal (bike paths). Eight years after the fact, many of these projects are still in progress, or have yet to begin – but the outlook remains bright. The Sun-Herald‘s Michael Newsom explores the background behind these efforts, and explains the hurdles they’ve faced along the way. Read the full piece here.

The Debate Over Making It Right in the Lower Ninth Ward

The Float House / Morphosis, Make It RIght © Iwan Baan

Ever since the New Republic published Lydia DePillis’s piece entitled “If you Rebuild it, They Might Not Come” - a criticism of the progress of Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation – numerous blogs and journals have been in a uproar, defending Make It Right’s efforts at the vastly devastated Lower Ninth Ward and presenting a much more forgiving perspective on the progress of the neighborhood since the engineering disaster that exacerbated the effects of in 2005. To date, 86 LEED Platinum homes have been designed and constructed by world-renowned architects, including Frank Gehry and Morphosis, at a cost of approximately $24 million.  Make It Right has promised to build up to 150 such homes, but DePillis‘s article points out that amenities in the neighborhood are low and the number of residents returning to the neighborhood is dwindling.  Make It Right has made a commitment and the debate that ensues questions whether it is going far enough in delivering its promise to rebuilding community.

Read on for more on the Make It Right debate…

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.