Make It Right, a nonprofit foundation founded in 2007 by some guy named Brad Pitt, is best known, for better or worse, for its starchitect-driven green rebuilding efforts in New Orleans’ Hurricane Katrina-ravaged Lower Ninth Ward.
And although Make It Right Nola is the foundation’s signature project — a project that recently reached an important milestone in its ultimate goal to build 150 sustainable, storm-resistant, and perhaps too-splashy-for-their-own-good homes for residents displaced by Katrina’s fury — a handful of other communities-in-need across the country have been treated to humanitarian housing goodness, Make It Right-style.
Alongside Newark, N.J. and Kansas City's Manheim Park neighborhood, the Fort Peck Reservation in northeastern Montana is one such community where Make It Right has chosen to extend a helping hand. Whereas the foundation’s work in New Orleans was spurred directly by natural disaster, at Fort Peck — a sprawling reservation that spans four counties and is home to two separate Native American nations, the Assiniboine and the Sioux, with combined tribal populations nearing 7,000 — chronic overcrowding is the driving issue. As Make It Right explains, wait lists for on-reservation housing spans 600-people long and multiple families have found themselves cramming into modest two-bedroom homes because there’s simply no where else on the reservation to live.
To help put a dent in Fort Peck Reservation's formidable affordable housing woes, Make It Right has pledged to build 20 innovative, energy-efficient abodes on the reservation. All of the homes will be built to LEED Platinum standards and are inspiried by Cradle to Cradle design principles — that is, the use of healthy/reclaimed/recyclable materials is of paramount importance.
A small percentage of the solar-powered Make It Right homes will be exclusively available to seniors and disabled veterans; all will be available to tribe members with annual incomes that are at 60 percent or below the area median income. After 15 years of continuous renting, ownership of the homes will be transferred to low-income tenants through a special rent-to-own program.
In addition to 20 three- and four-bedroom homes to be built this year, Make It Right has also worked directly alongside the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes to develop a sustainable masterplan for the 3,300-square-mile reservation, the ninth largest in the country.
Tim Duggan, Innovations Director for Make It Right, tells ArchDaily:
Make It Right believes that the best and most creative design solutions begin with an open exchange of ideas between designers and community stakeholders. Our design team is shaping a sustainable housing vision for Fort Peck and a model that can be replicated in tribal communities across the country.
Like in the Lower Ninth Ward, the 20 Make It Right homes to be built on Fort Peck Reservation are designed by an impressive roster of architecture firms — selected tenants get to choose which one of the five unique designs that they'd like to live in. This time around, however, there's less of an emphasis on marquee name architects and avant garde designs, which, despite being great for rubbernecking, ultimately slowed Make It Right's progress in New Orleans. With this project, it would appear that while the homes are no less smart or sustainable than their Nola counterparts, greater importance has been placed on affordability, speedy construction methods, and the unique needs and wants of the community at hand.
The five partnering firms — they include Make It Right veteran GRAFT, the Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative, green prefab heavyweights LivingHomes and Method Homes, and fellow nonprofit Architecture For Humanity — along with their respective designs were officially unveiled this past weekend at Dwell on Design in Los Angeles. Here's a look at them:
GRAFT, Los Angeles
Method Homes, Seattle
LivingHomes, Santa Monica, Calif.
Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative, Santa Fe, NM
Architecture for Humanity, San Francisco
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