Stefan Beese, Ricky Ridecos, Serge Hoeltschi
Hurricane Katrina, which hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, was one of the deadliest hurricanes in the US, and the costliest disaster in the world so far. The entire district of the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans lies below sea level and was completely destroyed and its population displaced. A year after the catastrophe, nothing had been done and residents could not return to rebuild their homes and neighborhoods. Brad Pitt visited the area while shooting a movie and decided something had to be done.
In 2007 GRAFT started the “Make It Right Foundation” together with Brad Pitt, Bill McDonough, and the Cherokee Foundation, to rebuild the Lower 9th Ward.
In order to raise funds and create awareness, the foundation designed the Pink Project to officially launch the rebuilding efforts and prepare the first financing after Brad Pitt’s initial donation. Merging set design and architecture into a single powerful tool, 150 pink houses were erected on the empty land that 2 years after the floods still dominated the area.
Over time, as monetary donations came in, the pink placeholders were reassembled to resurrect the urban patterns of the community before the disaster. Over the course of many months, Pitt, GRAFT, and the other parties involved met with former homeowners and local community leaders.
GRAFT took on the role of an architectural curator on the board of MIR and invited a group of 21 architects to create a range of architectural solutions. GRAFT also contributed two designs for affordable, sustainable, and safe houses based on popular dwelling typologies and the rich traditions of New Orleans. Sustainability strategies follow the Cradle-to-Cradle principle established by William McDonough and Michael Braungart.
To date, more than 100 homes have been built, all of which have earned LEED Platinum status, making it the largest community in the USA with this certificate. More than 350 people now live in Make It Right homes.
Alejandro Lillo, Nora Gordon, Verena Schreppel, Christoph Rauhut, M. Casey Rehm, Francesca Freeman, Eddie Hermann, Carsten Gauert, Joshua D. Gilpin, Mick van Gemert, Michael Zach, Asami Tachikawa, Susanne Woitke, Mark Grohne, Marcus Friesl, Atsushi Sugiuchi, Lorena Yamamoto, Naoko Miyano, Mosska Adeil, Tin-Shun But, Michael Haas, Shelly Shelly, Juyen Lee, Andrea Schuette, Robert DeCosmo