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Brad Pitt: "I Get This Well of Pride" Over Make It Right's New Orleans Work

The Float House / Morphosis, Make It Right. Image © Iwan Baan
The Float House / Morphosis, Make It Right. Image © Iwan Baan

Ten years ago this month, Hurricane Katrina swept through the Gulf coast of the US, hitting New Orleans the hardest. Two years after the wake of this destruction, after seeing the city's lack of rebuilding progress firsthand, Hollywood star and architecture enthusiast Brad Pitt launched Make It Right, a project set to build 150 houses designed by 20 internationally renowned architects.

Over the past eight years, Make It Right has not only helped to rebuild the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans—the area struck the hardest by the disaster—but has also began to spread its work to Missouri, Montana, and New Jersey, with more projects coming soon. While the non-profit organization has had success in its endeavors, it has simultaneously faced a great deal of criticism.

In a recent interview with NOLA, Pitt discusses some of these criticisms, reflecting on the growth of the organization, and the changes it has made. Find out about Pitt’s evolving perspective, after the break.

Frank Gehry-designed duplex. Image © Chad Chenier Photography / Make It Right Duplex house. Image Courtesy of Atelier Hitoshi Abe Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans. Image © Irina Vinnitskaya Flow House. Image Courtesy of William McDonough + Partners

Make It Right Releases Six Single-Family House Designs for Manheim Park Community

Make It Right, the organization formed by Brad Pitt that builds affordable and sustainable houses for people in need, has released a series of new single-family home designs by local architects to expand their efforts in Kansas City, Missouri. The new homes will become part of Make it Right's established work in Manheim Park, complementing the affordable housing and community complex opened by the organization in 2013. 

View the designs, after the break.

Home design by BNIM. Image Courtesy of Make It Right Home design by KEM Studio. Image Courtesy of Make It Right Home design by Pendulum Studio. Image Courtesy of Make It Right Home design by El Dorado Inc.. Image Courtesy of Make It Right

Architecture Doesn’t Need Rebuilding, It Needs More Thoughtful Critics

In the last few weeks, a number of reactionary architectural commentators have come out of the woodwork to denounce what they see as the currently negative direction of contemporary architecture. They claim that architecture needs to be “rebuilt” or that it is “imploding.” From their indications, architecture is on life-support, taking its last breath. The critique they offer is that contemporary architecture has become (or always was?) insensitive to users, to site conditions, to history—hardly a novel view. Every few years, this kind of frontal assault on the value of contemporary architecture is launched, but the criticisms this time seem especially shallow and misplaced. Surveying the contemporary global architecture scene, I actually feel that we’re in a surprisingly healthy place, if you look beyond the obvious showpieces. We’ve escaped from the overt dogmas of the past, we’ve renewed our focus on issues of the environment and social agency, we’re more concerned than ever with tectonics and how to build with quality. But the perennial critics of contemporary architecture appear not to have examined that deeply, nor that thoughtfully either. And unfortunately the various rebuttals to their critiques, ostensibly in support of modern and experimental architecture, have been ham-handed and poorly argued.

Allied Works’ Clyfford Still Museum is a quieter and more effective building than its neighbor, Daniel Libeskind’s Denver Art Museum. Image © Jeremy Bittermann The Borneo Sporenburg development in Amsterdam demonstrates a streetscape of diverse, integrated modern facades. Image © Flickr CC user Fred (bigiof) BIG’s formally radical 8 House turned out to be socially radical as well, hosting a vital and lively community. Image © Jens Lindhe In Portland's Pearl District, Modern buildings and parks coexist happily with semi-traditional or historic variants. Image via

Justin Shubow: “The Profession Has Lost Its Way”

On the wave of Frank Gehry’s proclamation that “98% of architecture is pure shit,” and a recent New York Times op-ed that declared architecture has lost its relevance with the general public, National Civic Art Society president Justin Shubow has joined the conversation by stating that “the profession has lost its way.” 

"Architecture is suffering a crisis of confidence,” stated Shubow in his recent Forbes article. “It is never easy to admit that one is mistaken, still worse that one’s god has failed. It is all the harder when one’s false worldview has been the justification for one’s high social rank. But the growing crisis of confidence is a sign that a cherished dogma will finally be abandoned: The superiority of the architect to the common man.”

Make It Right Unveils 5 New Designs for Housing in Fort Peck Reservation

Make It Right, the organization founded by Brad Pitt to provide housing to those in need, has unveiled 5 designs for their new initiative in the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana. The designs - by GRAFT, Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative, Architecture for Humanity, Method Homes and Living Homes - are inspired by cradle-to-cradle principles, will be LEED Platinum rated and have been developed alongside community consultation with the Sioux and Assiniboine tribes of Fort Peck.

The organization is planning to build 20 new homes on the reservation, as well as developing a sustainable masterplan for the entire 3,300 square mile reservation, with construction planned to start later this year.

More on the development of Make It Right's Fort Peck initiative after the break.

Method Homes' Design. Image Courtesy of Method Homes Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative's Design. Image Courtesy of Make It Right Architecture For Humanity's design. Image Courtesy of Make It Right GRAFT's Design. Image Courtesy of GRAFT

Four NGOs Launch Housing Competition to Aid Disaster Survivors

The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Make It Right, St. Bernard Project and Architecture for Humanity has formed a strategic partnership to launch “Designing Recovery,” an ideas competition created to aid in the rebuild of sustainable and resilient communities. 

Make It Right Announces New Efforts on the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana

The Make It Right organization, Brad Pitt's LEED and Cradle-to-Cradle inspired efforts to bring sustainable homes to communities in need, is probably best none for its much publicized work in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans in the post-Hurrican Katrina climate.  But the breadth of this organization's work stretches beyond this community rebuilding project.  Make It Right has worked within several disadvantaged communities in an effort to build sustainable and supportive homes and neighborhoods through the development of residences, community centers and infrastructural elements, and by providing training and counseling. 

MIR is working in Newark, New Jersey bringing residences to disabled veterans; in Kansas city, Montana the organization is rebuilding a blighted community within the neighborhood of Manheim Park; and most recently is partnering with Sioux and Assiniboine Native American tribe members to build sustainable homes on the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana.

More on Make It Right's new work on the Fort Peck Reservation after the break.

Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Challenge

The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute and the Make It Right Foundation have issued a $250,000 challenge for manufacturers to design a product for the affordable housing market, which is both safe for human and environmental health and is designed for re-use. The deadline for submissions is June 30, 2013.

The Debate Over Making It Right in the Lower Ninth Ward

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 rebuilding 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 Hurricane Katrina 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 how amenities in the neighborhood are low and how 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.

Find out more after the break.

Infographic: The Make It Right Foundation

Since Hurricane Katrina swept through New Orleans, leaving devastation in its wake, the Make It Right Foundation has been working to redevelop the Lower 9th Ward by recruiting world-renowned architects (from Frank Gehry to Shigeru Ban) to the cause. The foundation, the brain-child of actor Brad Pitt, aims to design houses that aren't just temporary solutions, but rather parts of an on-going process of sustainable, community development.

Learn more about the Make It Right Foundation's goals and progress, and check out some of the starchitect-deisgned prototypes that will eventually make up a 150-house neighborhood, in our ArchDaily original infographic, after the break.

Bancroft Project Breaks Ground

When we introduced you to the Bancroft School in September, the topic of one of the SEED Network's awesome mini-documentaries, or SEEDocs, the revitalization project was still in development. However, this Saturday's ground-breaking ceremony means that this innovative community complex will soon be a reality.

The building, which was an elementary school from 1904 until it fell into disrepair and closed in 1999, is located in one of Kansas City's most neglected, lower income neighborhoods: Manheim Park.  However, thanks to the joint-efforts of the Make It Right Foundation, BNIM Architects (the AIA’s 2011 Firm of the Year), and the Historic Manheim Park Neighborhood Association, the once asbestos-ridden school will soon be the center of a revitalization project to transform the urban landscape. 

More on the Bancroft Project, after the break...

SEEDocs: Bancroft School Revitalization

Design Corps and SEED (Social Economic Environmental Design) have released the latest installment of SEEDocs, their series of awesome, mini-documentaries that highlight inspirational stories of award-winning public interest design projects.

While June’s doc featured an incredible community garden in New Orleans, designed/built with help from the Tulane School of Architecture’s Tulane City Center, this month focuses on the revitalization of an abandoned, abestos-ridden school in Manheim Park, a low-income, neglected neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri.

Check out more images and info about this empowering project, after the break…

Make It Right completes Frank Gehry-designed Duplex

© Chad Chenier Photography / Make It Right
© Chad Chenier Photography / Make It Right

Make It Right is proud to announce the completion of the Frank Gehry-designed, New Orleans’ duplex in the Lower 9th Ward. The colorful, LEED Platinum home is part of an affordable and sustainable community that is currently being developed by Brad Pitt’s Make It Right foundation within the NOLA neighborhood most devastated from Hurricane Katrina.

“I really believe in what Brad is doing for the community and was honored to be included,” said Frank Gehry. “I wanted to make a house that I would like to live in and one that responded to the history, vernacular and climate of New Orleans. I love the colors that the homeowner chose. I could not have done it better.”

Continue after the break for more.

Make It Right Foundation needs your help

We have told you in the past about Brad Pitt´s Make It Right Foundation. They have been working with a group of international architects to redevelop the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans, after hurricane Katrina. The name of the foundation addresses the desire of Pitt, architecture enthusiast, to design these houses the best way and not just as a temporary solution, in a process that also included working not only with these renowned firms, but also very close with the community, with a focus on sustainable development.

Duplex House for Make It Right / GRAFT

GRAFT was one of the first practices that started working with Make It Right to redevelop the Lower 9th Ward area in New Orleans. Their single family home design has been picked by 3 homeowners so far, with 2 already finished and 1 in construction phase.

GRAFT’s proposal for the new set of duplex homes we featured yesterday, has LEED Platinum certification and in my opinion proposes an interesting strategy to connect with the street level, mandatory to all MIR projects.

Architect’s description and more images after the break:

Brad Pitt's Make It Right presents duplex homes for NOLA

Brad Pitt´s Make It Right Foundation has been working with a group of international architects to redevelop the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans, after hurricane Katrina. The name of the foundation addresses the desire of Pitt, architecture enthusiast, to design these houses the best way and not just as a temporary solution, in a process that also included working not only with these renowned firms, but also very close with the community, with a focus on sustainable development.

The designs are referential, and each client (as the houses aren´t “free”, yet they use existing finance ways and low interest loans) can pick a design, which is then adjusted by local firm John C. Williams Architects to suite the client´s needs.

A first phase included single family homes, designed by practices such as Kieran Timberlake, Shigeru Ban, Morphosis, MVRDV and Trahan Architects. As of now 8 houses have been built, and more than 10 houses are already on construction or in the permit process.

Make It Right has recently unveiled a second phase with 14 duplex homes to accommodate up to 2 families, which include a site-specific sustainable strategy and flexible plans for future family growth. But also, the practices were required to meet integration with the street and the use of landscaping as a design and energy element.

The result?  The 14 duplex homes after the break: