Hot or Not Hot? Brad Pitt Homes in the Lower 9th Ward

Written By: Kathy Price-Robinson - Jan• 30•10

Brad Pitt Homes from New York Times
Brad Pitt homes in Lower 9th Ward
Brad Pitt homes in Lower 9th Ward
Brad Pitt homes
As you may know, Brad Pitt helped create the Make It Right Foundation, which has the goal of building 150 new homes in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans. The area was decimated when the defective walls of the Industrial Canal gave way after Hurricane Katrina blew past, making the destruction part of the worst engineering failure in U.S. history.

No one can fault Brad Pitt for his efforts. But when the first few houses emerged from the ground, eyebrows shot up. What are these things, some people said? These structures were designed by some really famous architects, and you get the feeling the architects were trying to express themselves. That’s cool. I like to express myself, as well.

But some of the folks who were to move into these houses complained. According to an architect quoted in a New York Times article, the new owners may have been robbed of that feeling of “home” that they would get from homes in the historical New Orleans styles of creole cottages and shotguns houses. (See some old-school New Orleans homes here.)

So you hate to say anything negative about this Brad Pitt project. Few of us will ever do anything this powerful and meaningful. But as only a dozen or so houses have been built so far, it would not be too late, it seems to me, to change direction and build the rest of the houses in a traditional New Orleans style. 

Or am I being a fuddy duddy?

What’s your take?

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  1. I think architecture changes and evolves with time, for the best and worse. It is what it is for the times and reflects that generation’s culture, art, and values, including good and poor taste. I think you could even make the case it would be disingenuous had he tried to replicate previous homes.
    Allan Edwards, Builder

  2. Hey Allan. I see your point. It would have been impossible to replicate the older homes. I’ll admit these look much better than some of the slab-on-grade brick homes that were build in the 60s in New Orleans and outskirts. Living in what is called “the most European city in America” I should get used to diversity! Thanks for your comment.

  3. If there was a vote for “Very Hot” I would have made it.
    It’s just my opinion, but I think it’s much worse to try to make something new look old and fit into a certain period or style than it is to make something forward-looking that utilizes what we know now about architecture, the environment, and best practices in building — even if that means people will call it “ugly” today.
    By the looks of the designs the architects were doing their best to remedy the serious environmental risks that remain for the residents.
    And after the first big storm I’d imagine most of the homeowners will be very glad their homes are designed the way they are…

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