Brad Pitt Unveils “Floating House” for New Orleans’ Ninth Ward–and It’s Affordable and Green

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation has unveiled a $150,000 house that might give Ninth Ward residents something to come home to in case it floods once more. However, its maker cautions, it is not meant for residents to ride out any storm.

Architect Thom Mayne, whose firm Morphosis is based in Santa Monica, Calif., has come up with the most radical reconciliation of the need for height and the need for neighborliness so far.

He designed a house that sits just a few steps off the ground, until – heaven forbid – the flood waters start to sweep across the lowlands again. If that happens, the house is meant to float, rising gently on a pair of steel poles mounted at either end. Not 5 feet, not 8; Mayne’s house would float up to 12 feet above the waters.

“As long as we’re doing this, we might as well make it a really huge safety factor,” Mayne said.

The Associated Press says the foundation is “a high-performance chassis made from polystyrene foam coated in glass fiber-reinforced concrete. It houses the essential equipment to supply power, water and fresh air.” The house is designed to minimize catastrophic damage (and insurance claims) and to preserve the homeowner’s investment and property value. Its viability will allow residents to return to their homes within days after a hurricane or flooding with little water damage to furnishings, clothing and more importantly, generational keepsakes like photographs and paintings, birth certificates and deeds.

[Mayne] said he would eventually like to see assembly lines churning out floating chassis for future houses in flood-threatened coastal regions around the world. The solar-electric power system, storage batteries, and green appliances in Mayne’s storm-resistant design are so efficient that he believes the home will prove to be entirely energy self-sufficient. Entirely. A generator is on hand for emergency off-the-grid power. Such features would be of special significance to the residents of the Make It Right development, since each suffered the loss of a conventional home in the 2005 cataclysmic flood.

You just have to been a resident of the Ninth Ward whose home was destroyed by the levee breaks to qualify. Oh, and you have to have the dinero, too.

I can imagine such homes not only in New Orleans, but in rural areas of Wisconsin that have people and communities living in flood plains and are always having to rebuild.

Yes, it looks a bit ugly and a bit PoMo, but it is based on the design of a shotgun house. It has a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom and two bedrooms. If these are being custom-made, I wouldn’t be surprised if they offered additional bedrooms.

Interested? Here are a couple of articles that further explain the whole idea.

Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation

Mother Nature Network

Green Muze

~ by blksista on October 8, 2009.

%d bloggers like this: