Posts tagged with "New Orleans":

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New Orleans convent to be transformed into 25-acre wetland

Hurricane Katrina lasted only eight days and ended nearly 15 years ago, yet the residents of New Orleans are given daily reminders of the presence it wrought in their city after levees constructed by the Federal government failed to redirect excess stormwater. With 80% of the city destroyed, reflecting a citywide property damage price tag of over $125 billion, the broken levees came to signify the largest engineering failure in modern history that left many residents to decide between building off of what had been affected or starting anew. The city's local nuns have been shepherding a former Catholic convent weakened by the man-made disaster and are working with the city of New Orleans to transform the site into Mirabeau Water Garden, a 25-acre wetland that will one of the largest in the United States when complete. Led by Mary Kincaid, sustainable infrastructure program manager at the City of New Orleans project delivery unit, and designed by local firm Waggonner & Ball Architects, the project was originally conceived of by the Sisters of St. Joseph, a group of nuns that once occupied the convent before the building damage became too great to ignore. Their choices, as they have debated them since 2005, were to rebuild the convent or work with the city towards determining a better function for the site. The wetlands will have the capacity to absorb roughly 10 million gallons of stormwater runoff to combat the flash floods that have become common in the city within the last 20 years. Though that water will eventually reach the city's outdated drainage system, the wetland will act as a much-needed filter and partial barrier to prevent sewage overflows. As the most substantial wetland effort taken on by New Orleans in its centuries-long history, the Mirabeau Water Garden will be a signature element of Resilient New Orleans, a city-wide initiative to enact solutions to climate change and other issues facing future generations, and is being developed in accordance with the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan, a set of guidelines developed by the State of Louisiana’s Office of Community Development - Disaster Recovery Unit in 2010. The project is estimated to cost $30 million and city officials have already begun soliciting construction bids. The city is hoping to have construction begin in the spring of this year, though no completion date has been set.
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A look back at the literary explorations of architecture released in 2019

Architecture serves as more than just a backdrop—in our lives or in literature. In the four books below, released in the past year, the domestic and urban environments are just as central to the stories as the human protagonists.  Oval by Elvia Wilk Art and architecture writer Elvia Wilk’s debut novel Oval (Soft Skull Press) takes place in a parallel-present Berlin—a weird version of our already strange techno-unreality where atop of the defunct Tempelhof Airport a great mountain, The Berg, has been placed. (The idea for 1,000-meter artificial mountain is borrowed from a 2009 proposal by Mela Architects.) What was once the largest open space in a rapidly-changing urban Europe is now an experimental eco-village of supposedly sustainable houses. Oval’s scientist protagonist, Anja, lives in one of these houses with her partner Louis, a sought after “consultant," meaning that in this semi-dystopian world he's Berlin’s version of an artist, someone who serves as more or less a decorator to a corporation or an NGO's reputation. The already dysfunctional home, itself revealed to be a piece of radical architecture (no spoilers here), decays and becomes wild as the narrative progresses, while the urban topography of Berlin is radically transformed by gentrification and other disasters. In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado The origin of the word “archive” can be found in the Greek word for a house for superior magistrates. It is this etymology, by way of Jacques Derrida, that opens Carmen Maria Machado’s forceful In the Dream House (Graywolf), a memoir of an abusive relationship between two women and an essay on how stories are and aren’t told and remembered. “I was taken with the use of house (a love of haunted house stories, I’m a sucker for architecture metaphors),” she explains in the introduction to her own archival intervention. Each brief chapter is titled “The Dream House as [...],” a blank most frequently filled by a genre or form, but also architecture: “A Barn in Upstate New York,” for example. The walls of this “dream house” are flexible, able to contain and constrain so much. “Places are never just places in a piece of writing,” writes Machado. “If they are, the author has failed.” Morelia by Renee Gladman Reading Morelia by Renee Gladman (Solid Objects) feels like coming to in a foreign city, head rich with the haze of several-doses-too-many of cough syrup. It is a city where you are maybe unwanted but maybe belong. It is a city of much violence and some wonder. This short novel uses many misunderstandings and misrememberings to create a linguistic geography, spatializing the process of reading and writing fiction to take the shape of a fictional, dislocated city perhaps called Sespia. “Could syntax become a city?,” asks Morelia’s protagonist as they try to recall the meaning of an errant foreign word, one discovered in a book of medieval architecture. If not for her protagonists, syntax nearly always can become a city or something like one for Gladman herself. Her writing has an abiding interest in the way language and bodies move through urban space. Her Ravicka novels tell a story about its eponymous city as much as anything else and Morelia’s cover is decorated with one of Gladman’s “prose architectures,” drawings that render sentences into skylines. A volume of her architectural drawings accompanied by a text from theorist and poet Fred Moten, One Long Black Sentence, is forthcoming in 2020. The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom Sarah M. Broom introduces her then-incomplete memoir project, published as The Yellow House (Grove Atlantic), to her brother, nervous of her digging into family matters, in intentionally vague terms: When he asks about my project, I am imprecise, lofty, saying I am writing about ‘architecture and belonging and space.’” This characterization is not entirely disingenuous. The National Book Award-winning The Yellow House is not just the tale of a house—now gone—but of New Orleans as an urban and social palimpsest. Moving out from the yellow shotgun house and her own life and the lives of her family members, Broom maps New Orleans across history to unpack the complex and fractured narratives of race and class embedded in the city’s architectural logic. 
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Trahan Architects will take on interior renovation of New Orleans' Superdome

The Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans has been slowly but surely getting the upgrade it deserves over the last decade-and-a-half since Hurricane Katrina. Considering the venue's 44-year history of hosting renowned sports teams, its brief stint as a vital emergency shelter, and its recent designation on the National Register of Historic Places, the 76,000-seat arena has lived a storied life. Structurally, the piece of mega-infrastructure by Curtis & Davis is stronger than ever, but the interior could use a contemporary facelift.  This week, Trahan Architects revealed initial renderings of what will be a $450 million renovation of the beloved Superdome, set to be completed ahead of the Super Bowl LVIII in 2024. Nola.com reported that the New Orleans-based firm, which has been working on the space's restoration and renovation since the 2005 hurricane, will take the historic building and bring it into the 21st century of athletic entertainment. The studio will reorganize and improve back-of-house elements like bringing a giant commercial kitchen into the facility while dually enhancing front-facing amenities for spectators.  The Superdome's modernist exterior will remain the same. Trahan Architects has already replaced the outer shell of the 9.7-acre, single-span roof as well as the 400,000-square-foot exterior metal skin of the building to make it look like the original architects' design. Using anodized aluminum panels, the studio upgraded the membrane so that it could be changed out piece-by-piece in the future in case of damage. Phase one of the new project, set to cost $100 million, will largely include behind-the-scenes work while phase two will totally transform the look and feel of the Superdome's interior.  Elaina Berkowitz, an architectural designer on the Trahan team, said that although the redesign has been challenging to maneuver, improving the game-day experience for fans, while also "preserving the beauty and meaning of this classic structure" is a big deal for the firm. "It's a beautiful and iconic structure and is a wonderful representation of the strength of this fabulous community." One of the biggest changes of the upcoming renovation will center around the removal of the 80,000-square-foot ramp system (each is 50-feet-wide) that takes up the majority of space on the sidelines. Trahan Architects will build out a new series of vertical atriums with zigzagging escalators on two corners of the stadium before dismantling the old ramps, allowing fans easier circulation upon entering the Superdome and a closer view of the field than ever before.  In addition, the design team will integrate a diverse array of experiences for spectators to tap into. Field-level boxes on the end zones will be embedded under the general seats, according to Nola, and standing-room-only areas will allow fans to explore the stadium instead of being confined to their ticketed seats throughout an event.  The project announcement comes days after the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District (a.k.a. the Superdome Commission) voted to approve the multi-million dollar makeover. Construction on phase one will begin in mid-to-late January and will be further conducted around the Saints’ season schedule, as well as other major New Orleans events.
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Judge rules Brad Pitt could be sued over poorly-built New Orleans homes

A federal judge has ruled that actor Brad Pitt will remain a defendant in a case against his housing nonprofit, the Make It Right Foundation. Last November, the Ad Astra-star and other directors of the organization, which was founded in 2007 to build affordable homes after Hurricane Katrina, asked the court to remove their names from a class-action lawsuit filed by two homeowners who claim shoddy construction. One hundred and nine pieces of experimental and sustainable architecture from Make It Right popped up in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward through 2015, an area devastated by the 2005 hurricane and its subsequent flooding. Renowned design firms came to Make It Right to offer their services including Adjaye Associates, Gehry Partners, and KieranTimberlake, establishing a new eco-friendly, supposedly disaster-proof neighborhood. But things quickly went awry as reports of homeowner complaints surfaced regarding the structural integrity of the architecture and more (aka mold). By September of last year, Make It Right had sued its own principal architect on allegations of defective design work.  Over the last year, Pitt’s lawyers have attempted to get the actor’s name taken off the latter lawsuit by citing he had no personal responsibility for the construction—last year, the actor claimed that because he wasn't an architect or builder, he wasn't culpable for the quality of the housing. However, as the founder and main fundraiser of the housing project, Pitt was not able to separate himself from the legal battle and could face court in the coming months. 
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New York and New Orleans women will tackle design leadership in a new conference

For architects, the feeling of solidarity and the sharing of ideas are important aspects of professional practice, especially when it involves highly-skilled women who are constantly aiming to collaborate and want to raise up the next generation of design leaders. The Design + Practice Exchange is a new conference model that's bringing together the members of Women in Architecture committees from various chapters within the American Institute of Architects. The first official event, happening this Friday, September 27, in New Orleans, will give both local and New York architects a chance to share best practices for building community within their respective cities, practices, and the field at large.  Hosted at the Ashé Cultural Arts Center and the Center for Architecture and Design New Orleans, the two-day symposium will feature presentations by Vivian Lee, principal of Richard Meier & Partners Architects, Fallon Samuels Aidoo of the University of New Orleans’ Department of Planning and Urban Studies, as well as Emilie Taylor Welty, partner of the New Orleans-based studio Colectivo, and Sara Lopergolo, partner at Selldorf Architects. Each will discuss current projects that are transforming neighborhoods in New Orleans and New York. For Lopergolo, the presentations are a time to champion women leaders in design. “There are many women in offices—not enough, of course—but too few women in design leadership roles,” she said. “This forum is to discuss the challenges and solutions to getting women into these leadership roles.” Wells Megalli, a designer at Deborah Berke Partners, and Tracie Ashe, partner of studioWTA, will explore how they approach housing projects and how, as design leaders, they utilize every part of the architectural process to build community. This also translates to the process of building solidarity in the industry. “Our field is very coast-to-coast-centric,” said Lopergolo, “and with this Design + Practice Exchange, we’re trying to expand our communication to other cities small and large.”
 
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Joel Pominville and Aran Donovan of AIA New Orleans are helping prepare for the event this week. As a smaller organization compared to the AIA NY, they are thrilled to start the conversation surrounding the Design + Practice Exchange in their home city. “It’s critical that architects from cities of different scales, social, and political makeups come together around key issues in the field,” said Pominville, executive director of the AIA New Orleans and the New Orleans Foundation. “These types of discussions aren’t happening in New Orleans as much as they are in New York.”  During the conference, there will be a series of roundtable discussions spearheaded by leaders from Studio West, FXCollaborative, Perez, Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Trapolin Peer Architects, and Fogarty Finger Architecture. These conversations will be less project-focused and more centered on workplace culture and leadership. “It’s good for women to know how other women are being perceived in other cities,” said Cassidy Rosen, a designer at Eskew+Dumez+Ripple who will be moderating the event. “We want to know that we’re on the same page as women in New York and know how to be engaged not just in professional development, but in community, social and networking aspects as well.” In addition, a session on advocacy and activism, two growing topics that architects today are more and more challenged by, will be lead by Colloqate’s Sue Mobley and Arielle Weiss of Urbhan. Whether it’s learning ways to uplift other women, bolster entrepreneurship, or combat gender discrimination and equal pay issues in the practice, the ideas exchange will give women from all backgrounds the support they need to do even better work.  “We want greater collaboration,” said Rosen, “which is something that’s lacking between states.” The Design + Practice Exchange will take place Friday, September 27 at the Ashé Cultural Arts Center, with an evening reception at the Center for Architecture and Design New Orleans. There will be a tour of women-led projects and organizations along Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. on Saturday morning, September 28. The morning presentations and morning tour are free and open to the public, while the roundtable discussions and reception are limited with a registration fee. AN is an official media sponsor.
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The New Orleans Museum of Art flaunts its waterside sculpture garden

Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art 1 Collins Diboll Circle City Park New Orleans Louisiana 504-658-4100 Architect: Lee Ledbetter & Associates Landscape Architect: Reed Hilderbrand The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, which adjoins the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), reopened this summer after a major expansion. The renovated garden includes a variety of amenities for education and entertainment, including an amphitheater, a gallery, and an outdoor learning environment. Pathways and pedestrian bridges snake past groves, open fields, and lagoons to enable visitors of all physical abilities to fully explore the garden’s art. NOMA maintains a particularly impressive collection of contemporary sculpture in the outdoor space, including pieces by Yinka Shonibare, Beverly Pepper, and Frank Gehry. Working with Reed Hilderbrand and Lee Ledbetter & Associates, the museum has prioritized environmental sustainability throughout its expansion. An elaborate lagoon system, as well as ecologically conscious soil-management practices and hundreds of new trees, ensures that the garden’s ecosystem continues to thrive. As has always been the case, the Besthoff Sculpture Garden is free and open to the public seven days a week.
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Tulane launches new research studios on climate change and water management

Tulane’s School of Architecture announced a series of multi-year Research Studios earlier this month that will debut in the fall, each designed to address environmental issues and climate change. Combining both rigorous research engagement as well as traditional designed studio methods, the goal is to produce scholarship and real-world solutions to some of the most pressing problems affecting the architectural profession today. That includes examining a single topic over three-to-five years, including water management, conservation, sustainable real estate development, and more, The school’s setting in New Orleans, a sprawling metropolis located below sea level, has put students and faculty on the front lines of pressures from receding coastlines and escalating natural disasters. Architect Iñaki Alday was appointed Dean in August 2018 with the goal of aligning pedagogy towards practical challenges facing architecture and urbanism, and the Research Studios reflect his personal commitment to architecture that works—he is a cofounder of the Yamuna River Project, a pan-university initiative to tackle the urgent rehabilitation of the Yamuna in India. The studios, scheduled to launch for the Fall 2019 semester, will be led by Alday and global experts like Richard Campanella, Byron Mouton, and Kentaro Tsubaki, among others. Studios are expected to be interdisciplinary, spilling into other areas of scholarship at Tulane like the social sciences, law, and real estate. The Research Studios are a first of their kind and may inspire similar initiatives or climate focuses at schools around the world. With titles like Big Questions, Small Projects and The Future of Ports, the studios set out to address all scales, challenging students to design with a new type of urgency for the future.  The new Research Studios will cover the following, according to Tulane: · The Yamuna River Project and the Rajasthan Cities. By lead instructor Iñaki Alday, Dean and Richard Koch Chair in Architecture. · URBANbuild: re-evaluation, affordability, national translation. By lead instructor Byron Mouton, AIA, Director of URBANbuild, Lacey Senior Professor of Practice in Architecture. · The Future of Ports: From the Backyard to the Forefront of Ecology, Economy, and Urbanity. By lead instructor Margarita Jover, Associate Professor in Architecture. · Resilience Reinforced: Architectural precast concrete systems addressing the regional water infrastructure challenges. By lead instructor Kentaro Tsubaki, AIA, Associate Dean for Academics, Favrot Associate Professor of Architecture. · Contemporary Architecture in Historic Contexts: The Case of Magazine Street in New Orleans. By lead instructor Ammar Eloueini, AIA, NCARB, Favrot V Professor of Architecture. · Toward a Civic Landscape. By lead instructor Scott Bernhard, AIA, NCARB, Favrot III Associate Professor of Architecture. · Fast/Strong/Sustainable: Exploring the Expanded Mass Timber Industry for Design in Hurricane-Prone Regions. By lead instructor Judith Kinnard, FAIA, Harvey-Wadsworth Chair of Landscape Urbanism, Professor of Architecture. · Addis Ababa River Project. By lead instructor Rubén García Rubio, Assistant Professor in Architecture and Urbanism. · Big Questions, Small Projects: design build's potentials to advance community-driven ideas. Led by instructor Emilie Taylor Welty, Favrot II Professor of Practice.
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New Orleans–based architect Wayne Troyer, FAIA, passes away

Wayne Troyer, FAIA, one of New Orleans’ most distinguished and engaged architects, died on May 3. Troyer battled against pancreatic cancer for nearly three years but continued to produce projects with his firm studioWTA that were his hallmark: modernism merged with New Orleans distinctive urbanism and historic structures. A native of the city, he not only designed dozens of the city’s best new buildings but was also active in civic and cultural commissions and boards, including the Historic District Landmarks Commission, the Architectural Review Committee, the Preservation Resource Center, the New Orleans Film Society, the Contemporary Arts Center, and founded the local chapter of Docomomo. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 The Times-Picayune newspaper credited Mr. Troyer with “helping the city rebuild, working with initiatives such as the Bring New Orleans Back Commission, the Unified New Orleans Plan and Operation Comeback.” His own house was a hallmark of his design thinking and won multiple national and local design awards. Tracey Hummer of Frederic Schwartz Architects worked with studioWTA architects on the 2006 New Orleans Recovery and Master plan and writes of her colleague and friend who she admired: “Wayne was an architect's architect and great fun to be with anywhere, but especially New Orleans. Art, music, and film were all part of his daily life and practice…his compassionate open-minded personality translated to the studio's work.” A memorial for Troyer will be announced in the coming weeks.
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Assemble converts New Orleans garage into experimental fashion school

The London-based architecture collective Assemble has converted a former car repair shop in New Orleans into a fashion manufacturing hub that offers free education and training for local youth. Dubbed Material Lab, the school is part of an experimental art school founded by the Tasmania-based Museum of New and Old Art (MONA), which also includes a music recording studio and a cooperative garden located nearby. In New Orleans, Assemble, a multidisciplinary studio known for its civic-minded interventions on abandoned structures and in disenfranchised areas, created a space that nods to the ruin. The first floor of the industrial garage was adapted into two large work and production spaces that are finished simply with coats of white paint and exposed concrete floors. One of the most visually striking elements of the building are the doorways and windows that appear to be punched through the walls, complete with jagged brick outlines. Some of these openings frame small plots of vegetation growing inside the building envelope, which are held behind large panes of clear glass. Bright coats of orange and mint green paint highlight structural beams and ceilings, with the orange hue reappearing in the chairs and rolling racks for clothes and textiles. Much of the furniture was designed and put together onsite by Assemble. Material Lab melds the rich culture of costuming, craft, and fashion in New Orleans with the progressive pedagogy of schools like Black Mountain College, a radically run arts college in North Carolina. The lab offers space, professional guidance, and manufacturing equipment for the production of clothing and textile design to youth ages 14 to 30, with the goal of offering a venue for both creative expression and fostering economic independence. With a focus on hands-on learning, the pilot curriculum included textile printing, embellishment, pattern cutting, draping, and clothing design, and the new building is well-equipped with industrial sewing machines, a large dye sublimation printer, a weaving loom, a heat press, other dye equipment, computers, dress forms, and the like. The first pilot session of the school culminated in a December show. Judging by images from the event, the raw and unfinished aesthetic of the space serves the energy of the emerging and experimental designers well. Assemble began working with the school in 2016 at the invitation of MONA and ran the 2018 pilot, which continued through the summer of 2019. It worked with local legends like master beader Big Chief Demond Melancon of the Young Seminole Hunters as well as international fashion stars like Virgil Abloh, the artistic director of Louis Vuitton's men's wear, along with other fashion designers and textile artists. After the pilot, the school is now gearing up to run on a permanent basis.
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IdeasCity heads to New Orleans this April

IdeasCity, the urban culture initiative from New York's New Museum, is bringing its annual festival to New Orleans this April. This year's festival will take place from April 15 to 20 at the Bell Artspace Campus and the New Orleans African American Museum. The theme of this year's event will be "Everyday Festival." The IdeasCity festival comprises a five-day residency program that ends with a one-day public program of talks and performances. In a statement, IdeasCity curator V. Mitch McEwen said: “As New Orleans knows well, a festival is a site of intense reimagination of bodies, streets, space, and time…Through the logic of the festival, we are looking for ways of opening ourselves up to radically new ideas.” This year's presenters will include Black Thought, Imani Perry, Bryan C. Lee, Sue Mobley, LOT-EK, and more. Previous IdeasCity festivals have taken place in Toronto, New York, Detroit, and elsewhere.
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Colloqate instrumentalizes design as a tool for social justice

Every year the Architectural League of New York recognizes eight dynamic young firms as Emerging Voices that have the potential to become leaders in the field. Historic winners like Morphosis (1983) and Toshiko Mori (1992) have become today’s lions, and practices like Johnston Marklee (2007) and Tatiana Bilbao (2010) have jumped to new heights after recent wins. This year’s crop was selected in a two-stage portfolio competition where a jury of architects selected the winners. The deciding jury included several previous winners like Dominic Leong (2017), Fernanda Canales (2018), and Marlon Blackwell (1998), giving the process a familial feel. Laureates for 2019 come from across North America and almost all are partnerships or collaboratives—capital letters feature prominently, too.  Colloqate will lecture at the Scholastic Auditorium at 130 Mercer Street, New York, New York, at 7:00 p.m. on March 28, as part of the Emerging Voices lecture series. Colloqate Design, a multidisciplinary, New Orleans–based “nonprofit design justice practice” founded in 2017 by Bryan Lee Jr.—Sue Mobley came on in 2018—with the goal of “building power through the design of public, civic, and cultural spaces,” is setting a different path relative to other design offices. For one, Colloqate spends quite a bit of time doing the arduous work of educating and training communities, institutions, and municipal agencies through initiatives like its Design as Protest and Design Justice Summit events to “build practices around design justice,” according to Lee. Buildings are not an afterthought for the practice, but Lee and Mobley’s view of how designers and design justice intersect is firmly rooted in grappling with everything that exists beyond and around their particular projects. According to the duo, this “syntax of built environment”—including but not limited to the social mores we keep, the design of streetscapes and infrastructure, and the impact of political policies—has as direct an impact on how people use spaces as any one design element might. So a key goal of their practice involves making others aware of how these overlapping and sometimes competing languages operate so that when they do building-oriented design work in a given space, they can “intentionally organize, advocate, and design spaces of racial, social, and cultural equity.” The practice started off as an outgrowth of the Claiborne Corridor Cultural Innovation District, a visionary urban plan that would transform a 19-block area below an elevated highway in New Orleans into a “culture-based economic driver” for the Claiborne Corridor neighborhood. The plan, envisioned for an area that was once a social and economic core of New Orleans’s black community but was cleared to make room for the highway, aims to articulate a socially guided vision for bringing a public market, classrooms, exhibition spaces, and health, environmental, and social services to the area. Another project, Paper Monuments, brought a flurry of posters to sites across the city to “create new narratives and symbols of [New Orleans]…and to honor the erased histories of the people, events, movements, and places that have made up the past three hundred years” of history. The citizen-led project sought to use public art as a way to further Colloqate’s core aim of “dismantling the privilege and power structures that use the design professions to maintain systems of injustice.” Lee explained that as a nonprofit entity (Colloqate’s growing board includes urban planners, architects, and other design professionals), Colloqate must necessarily take an unorthodox and provocative approach. As the practice expands, completes projects, and envisions its future, however, Lee hopes to apply Colloqate’s ethos more directly to bricks and mortar. “We want to be the most radical design firm out there,” Lee said, “and we need to build buildings to do that.”
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Brad Pitt denies responsibility in Make It Right Foundation lawsuit

After a class action lawsuit against Brad Pitt's Make It Right Foundation was moved from civil to federal court on November 7, Pitt’s lawyers have submitted a motion asking that Pitt be removed as a defendant in the case. Although the actor founded and directed the New Orleans–based housing nonprofit, his lawyers claim that he had no role in actually designing or constructing the allegedly faulty housing at the center of the lawsuit. Make It Right, founded by Pitt in 2007 to help New Orleans recover from Hurricane Katrina, is facing a class-action lawsuit for selling what Lower Ninth Ward residents allege were defective, easily-damaged homes. From 2008 through early 2016, Make It Right attracted Pritzker Prize winners and big-name studios such as KieranTimberlake, Adjaye Associates, Thom Mayne of Morphosis, Frank Gehry, Shigeru Ban, and more to build experimental, sustainable homes in the hurricane-ravaged Lower Ninth Ward. A total of $26 million was spent to build 109 affordable homes in the neighborhood, and the project initially appeared to be a success and drew design-minded tourists to the area. The lawsuit, which alleges that Make It Right committed fraud, contract breaches, and engaged in deceptive trade practices, is looking to wring millions in repair fees from the foundation and its former top officials. Make It Right, which sued their principal architect John C. Williams on September 19 in civil court on allegations of providing defective design work, acknowledged that fixing rain-damaged homes could cost up to $20 million. Lawyers representing the class action plaintiffs filed a motion asking that the case be transferred to federal court because three of the former officers live in North Carolina, because the final settlement could top $5 million, and because Make It Right was incorporated in Delaware. As for Brad Pitt’s involvement, his lawyers claim that even if the plaintiffs’ complaints against the foundation have merit, Pitt shouldn’t be included in the lawsuit. While Pitt founded and fundraised for the charity, he claims his involvement didn’t extend to anything approaching the actual design of the buildings. Notably, Pitt is only asking that he be excused from the lawsuit, not that the case not proceed. As Nola noted, this is the first time Pitt has spoken publicly about Make It Right since the 2015 Katrina anniversary.