Floating House Unveiled for Brad Pitt's Make It Right Foundation
(NEW ORLEANS) — Morphosis Architects, under the direction of renowned architect and UCLA distinguished Professor Thom Mayne, has completed the first floating house permitted in the United States for Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation in New Orleans. The FLOAT House is a new model for flood-safe, affordable and sustainable housing that is designed to float securely with rising water levels.
Mayne led a team from Morphosis Architects and graduate students from UCLA Architecture and Urban Design in this innovative housing project to help with the rebuilding of the Lower Ninth Ward post-Hurricane Katrina. The concept emerged from a study of the flooding record, social and cultural history of the city, and the ecology of the Mississippi Delta. Morphosis and UCLA’s collaboration on the research, development, design, and construction of the FLOAT House is exemplary of their shared goals to engage students in real-world design for social impact.
In the event of flooding, the base of the house — reconceived as a chassis -- acts as a raft, allowing the house to rise vertically on guide posts, securely floating up to twelve feet as water levels rise. While not designed for occupants to remain in the home during a hurricane, this innovative structure aims to minimize catastrophic damage and preserve the homeowner’s investment in their property. This approach also allows for the early return of occupants in the aftermath of a hurricane or flood.
"When Brad Pitt launched Make It Right, he promised the residents of the Lower 9th Ward that he would help them build back stronger, safer and better able to survive the next storm or flood. The FLOAT House is helping us deliver on that promise. For the first time, this house brings technology to Americans that was created to help save homes and speed recovery from flooding. It’s an approach and design that could and should be replicated all over the world now threatened with increased flooding caused by climate change," says Tom Darden, Executive Director of the Make It Right Foundation.
Designed in response to Ninth Ward residents’ specific needs, the FLOAT House serves as a scalable prototype that can be mass-produced and adapted to the needs of communities world-wide facing similar challenges. On track for a LEED Platinum Rating, the state-of-the-art home uses high-performance systems, energy efficient appliances, and prefabrication methods to produce an affordable, sustainable house that generates its own power, minimizes resource consumption, and collects its own water.
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