Jill Fehrenbacher

CAN BRAD PITT SAVE THE WORLD? New Orleans will tell...

by , 09/03/06

Brad Pitt, Global Green, New Orleans, Hurrican Katrina, Architecture competition, Housing in New Orleans, Green Building

Hollywood actor Brad Pitt has jumped into the New Orleans rebuilding efforts, unveiling a green housing design for New Orleans’s Lower Ninth Ward. The design was selected from an architectural competition with organization Global Green, that Pitt helped underwrite and jury.


We have to admit that at first we were a bit peeved (jealous perhaps?) over this Hollywood celeb deciding that he was going to become an architect. After all, the process takes years of grueling school and slaving away as unpaid intern in the wee hours of the night (at least for us) – so our gut instinct is to be less than thrilled about the rich and famous walking up to Frank Gehry and launching an starchitecture career overnight (obviously this is the small-minded/envious part of our brain talking). However, Brad’s has been sticking to his guns on this for a while now — and his sincerity and apparent dedication to tackling real problems is starting to warm the cockles of our cynical heart. We are also starting to realize that when Brad Pitt joins the New Orleans debate or the green building debate – everyone stops to listen. Thats good news for all of us who want to get the word out and actually get something done.

According to Yahoo news, Pitt said the recovery will not work if the city does not put in place critical services such as schools — and he doesn’t see very much progress so far:

“I am appalled and embarrassed that residents still do not have the opportunity … to decide if they want to get back into their neighborhoods and recreate their communities.”

You tell ‘em Brad!….Since nothing else really seems to be working, perhaps a little celebrity magic can help get the city of New Orleans back on track…

The winning design, GreeN.O.LA, can be seen along with the other short-listed entries here >


+ Global Green Competition

+ Article on Yahoo News

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16 Comments

  1. gadget geek favors September 17, 2010 at 3:49 am

    Surprisee Friend , i love w/ ur blog. LOL Please come to my blog

  2. Grant Scheuermann September 12, 2010 at 5:35 am

    I like this Your New style man

  3. Inhabitat » CELEB... June 3, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    [...] Brad Pitt is once again trading the silver screen for green building, as he recently announced a collaboration with LA-based architecture firm GRAFT to design a 5-star “green resort” in Dubai. We’re not sure if “Dubai” and “green” really belong in the same sentence, and we’re also skeptical about the project oxymoronically being called both “socially-conscious” and “an 800-room luxury hotel and adjoining leisure complex,” but we’ll wait to see how it unfolds. No details or location have been announced yet, but we can only hope that given Brad’s friendship with Frank Gehry and his commitment to Global Green, it’ll be as beautiful and green as the superstar claims. [...]

  4. Dave Macaulay August 10, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    If you want to learn more or get involved in any capacity with the green rebuilding of New Orleans – and especially the Holy Cross Neighborhood and the Lower Ninth Ward, go to these sites:

    http://www.helpholycross.org
    http://www.zerocarbonNOLA.org
    http://www.globalgreen.org/programs/neworleans/index.html

  5. Cassandra Walters May 10, 2007 at 10:47 am

    I would like to work for Brad Pitt or global green in New Orleans.
    Are people needed there? I am from New Orleans exiled in Georgia due to
    the hurricane.

  6. Albert Bongard January 19, 2007 at 11:26 am

    how do I get involved to work and help with this foundation?????

  7. Inhabitat » INTER... November 29, 2006 at 10:53 am

    [...] Back in late August, Global Green and Brad Pitt announced the winners of the Global Green Sustainable Design Competition For New Orleans. The winning proposal, titled GreeNOLA and submitted by Matthew Berman and Andrew Kotchen of Workshop APD, calls for six houses and two multifamily units which employ energy-efficient appliances, solar power, and recycled building materials, as well as providing social services like child care and a community garden. Workshop APD’s proposal is designed to cut pollution and decrease operating energy use by 50-60 percent, compared to traditional homes. The success of the GreeNOLA design is its seemless integration of cutting edge green technology with the traditional building wisdom of the region. This combination creates healthy and affordable new residences for displaced residents of New Orleans. Groundbreaking of the new complex starts this January. [...]

  8. geneva cox September 27, 2006 at 7:47 pm

    Now that it has been decided to have a a ‘green rebuilding’ let’s look at the question of matching peoples needs to services and moving them toward homeownership or re-ownership. fifty years of housing counseling experience is availavble and needs tobe a part of any rebuilding program.

  9. Tom Schirber September 21, 2006 at 3:06 pm

    This is exactly what celebrities should do with there fame power. However, they don’t always get the best advice and don’t take the time to research their best position. “Green” is good and Global Green is a good organization. Green proponants don’t always integrate building science into the design of green buildings. Building science looks at energy, durability, indoor air quality all on a performance basis. Many “green” houses do not perform as they were designed because some aspect of building science was avoided. And then there is cost. What becomes affordable and to whom? Building green must include a building envelope that resists wind, floods, windborn debris, and wind lift. On a performance basis homes should resist moisture, insects, fire; energy efficiency – be airtight, control moisture, have clean, properly ventilated indoor air and will last a longtime with minimal maintenance. The trick is to do all of this at a lower price than conventional construction. The Wilder Foundation and the University of Minnesota are working on this, making greeen “high performance”

  10. Marcus September 21, 2006 at 5:35 am

    The question is not “Should we build New Orleans?” But “Why do the people of New Orleans wish to rebuild?”

    Logically, it may be questionable to rebuild in a swamp. But cities are often built on places that just kinda became a central gathering spot for a group of people. Other people visit them and decide to stay. Rinse, lather, repeat. Those people are drawn together in a spot does that is not necessarily environmentally perfect.

    Those not-so-perfect environs are often hard on the people that stay and have a habit of shaping people’s personalities and values. Those values spread and people stay because of their new-found connection to each other. The stay because they build family. So when a disaster striikes, what is it to these people? Another fall of the chisel in the shaping of their character. What do these people do? They take it in stride and rebuild because of the not-so-perfect environment. They wouldn’t be the same without it.

  11. Leopold Mak Ender September 11, 2006 at 5:15 pm

    Interesting, but will this house stand up after some hurricanes? Do the house standing up after some light earthkuake? How high are the technique? Can they burn?
    Many parameters have now answhers in the presentation.
    Leopold Mac Ender

  12. Marde Doolan September 11, 2006 at 11:45 am

    Sure, Brad Pitt may not be an architect but if his influence catalizes the movement for more Sustainable builidngs and products, we all win.

  13. Nick Simpson September 6, 2006 at 9:59 am

    I agree – as hard as it may be to make such a decision, should you rebuild New Orleans at all? Surely re-introducing enough of the wetlands for them to help against flooding would live little housing land left for the rebuilding of the city along with a massive mosquito problem. I’m from the UK so maybe I don’t understand, but I’ve never quite understood the decision to build a city in a swamp in the first place. With sea levels rising in the way they’re bound to do over the next 50-100 years any rebuilding of New Orleans is bound to be washed away as it is. The best thing you can do is concentrate on saving other at-risk cities, such as New York.

  14. Joanne September 4, 2006 at 7:46 pm

    I think it’s fantastic that a mega movie star such as Brad Pitt focuses his energy and resources on such a horrendous issue. How many in his cush position think beyond spending money on luxuries and living the high life? I know there are some that do good things but if 1/2 of them would give back to our society the world would be in a better place. Not only stars need to give back but the filthy rich CEO’s and billionaires in this country who line their pockets with profits garnered with out paying taxes (off shore trading) and more often than not, wealth gained wealth through cheap labor. They are usually busy campaigning for policies that guarantee that they keep even more of their money. So hurray for Brad.

    And, yes, I agree with the previous comment: we should learn from Holland. They have some amazing engineering to hold back the waters as well as fantastic floating home technology as posted on this site. (It’s true, people don’t have sense not to build on such dangerous land.) Those in the drivers seat often don’t seem to have any knowledge of what works at all (least being sustainable) or they are not willing to pay for a true intelligent solution. Money down the drain.

    And bring back the health of the wet lands which for centuries helped mitigate the effects of the storms.

  15. Meghan September 4, 2006 at 2:43 pm

    All this talk about Re-building N. O. is wonderful in context but I cant help thinking why these people feel the need to build on a location that inevitably will destroy itself again. Is this a concern? Are we not learning from the 1000 years of hell the Dutch continue to experience? I dont understand. To me it seems like we are missing the bigger problem and only coming up with temp. solutions. Maybe a soup bowl just isnt the place to live.

  16. girladvendger September 3, 2006 at 9:24 pm

    It’s nice to se you admitting to the emotions of envy and jealousy was the main reason for not being as supportive of the job Brad Pitt is trying to do. I think a good idea being express by any one is great and if people are willing to go out there and support those ideas…giving them our support is important so the word can get out and perculate in the minds of the people these ideas are trying to help.

    Like I said, I knew this infomation was out there but it was like a sub culture and the daily news treated it that way but until Brad Pitt started putting his money into this venture and speaking from his heart about green building. This got me started in thinking of way to green our homes and remodel asking these question. What is amazing to me, is that I seem to know more about this, then the builders i’m working with.

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