Remember how Brad Pitt is helping "green" New Orleans? Mr. Pitt has also commissioned 13 architecture firms to help rebuild the Lower Ninth Ward, one of the city's neighborhoods which was utterly destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. According to the New York Times, 150 affordable, environmentally sound houses are to be built there over the next two years, as part of Pitt's project, Make It Right. Mr. Pitt pledged to match $5 million in contributions to the project, as did Steve Bing, the philanthropist, and nine architecture firms have donated their services to the cause. "The architects were each asked to design a 1,200-square-foot house for about $150,000, with Make It Right to help with the financing." One of the designs is essentially a boat rooted in the ground, which will float if floodwaters rise. Another has native vines climbing up the side walls to provide shade and coolness. Each architect has envisioned something unique, but they all have green building elements, which will reduce upkeep costs by at least 75 percent.
To hear what Brad has to say,
- Of his involvement with the project, Pitt said: "I’ve always had a fondness for this place — it’s like no other . . . Seeing the frustration firsthand made me want to return the kindness this city has shown me."
- Of the architectural potential:
- "If you have this blank slate and this great technology out there, what better test than low-income housing? It’s got to work at all levels to really be viable."
- "I was most curious about advancing the discussion further . . . That was certainly one of the benefits of this exercise. There is no other reason to call on these great minds if you’re just going to shackle them."
- In response to those wary of rebuilding: "My first answer to that is, talk to the people who’ve lived there and have raised their kids there. People are needing to get back in their homes."
- Asking for contributions: "You can adopt a tankless water heater or a solar panel or a tree or a low-flush toilet. You can give it to someone for Christmas."