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Make It Right
Pugh + Scarpa

February 18, 2008 /

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

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Image courtesy Pugh + Scarpa

Make It Right's goal is to join the history of the Lower 9th Ward with creative new architectural solutions mindful of environmental and personal safety concerns in order to encourage both the evolution of aesthetic distinctiveness and the conscientious awareness of natural surroundings. 

To that end, MIR assembled a team of fourteen local, national and international world-renowned architecture firms specializing in innovative, ecologically responsible design.

Pugh + Scarpa's Make it Right (MIR) home seeks to redefine the concept of a home into a flexible, multifunctional and adaptable space addressing the needs of today's modern family, on a limited budget.

Offering shelter and comfort, the MIR home breaks the prescriptive mold of the traditional home by creating public and private "zones" in which private space is deemphasized, in favor of large public living areas. The organization of the space is intended to transform the way people live-away from a reclusive, isolating layout towards a family-oriented, interactive space.

Our goal is to bring green technology to the affordable level./ Brad Pitt

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Image courtesy Pugh + Scarpa

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Image courtesy Pugh + Scarpa

The inspiration for the home came from American patchwork quilting traditions, exemplified by the Gee's Bend abstract geometric style-which is itself influenced by newspaper- and magazine-collages used for insulation on the inside walls of homes in the early rural American South.

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Image courtesy Pugh + Scarpa

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Image courtesy Pugh + Scarpa

Recycled wooden pallets are repositioned here as a patchworked shade screen wrapping the building, an innovative alternative to expensive facade materials that lends its own unique character and texture. The visually expressive pallets impart an imperfect, rough-hewn individuality that we find particularly appealing. We are working with local manufacturers to ensure the viability of this cost-effective and sustainable off-the-shelf product, easily obtainable and readily replaceable.

The pallet wrapping is joined by decoratively perforated cement board on the east and west facades, providing both shade and privacy while allowing views out and dappled, indirect daylight and breezes to enter. All the exterior elements will combine and interweave, emerging as a distinctive pattern-making aesthetic.

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Image courtesy Pugh + Scarpa

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Image courtesy Pugh + Scarpa

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Image courtesy Pugh + Scarpa

Facts about Make It Right

In December 2006, Brad Pitt convened a group of experts in New Orleans to brainstorm about building green affordable housing on a large scale to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. Having spent time with community leaders and displaced residents determined to return home, Pitt realized that an opportunity existed to build houses that were not only stronger and healthier, but that had less impact on the environment.

After discussing the hurdles associated with rebuilding in a devastated area, the group determined that a large-scale redevelopment project focused on green affordable housing and incorporating innovative design was indeed possible.

The group settled on the goal of constructing 150 homes, one of the larger rebuilding projects in the city, with an emphasis on developing an affordable system that could be replicated.

To demonstrate replicability, Pitt determined to locate the project in the Lower 9th Ward, one of the most devastated areas of New Orleans, proving that safe homes could and should be rebuilt. Pitt hopes that this project would be a catalyst for recovery and redevelopment throughout the Lower 9th Ward and across the city of New Orleans.

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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