Global Green Design Competition, New Orleans, Brad Pitt, Sustainable Design for New Orleans, Green Building, Green Design

We’ve just gone off on a tangent about the politics of celebritecture and Brad Pitt’s involvement in designing housing for New Orleans, but now we’d like to get back to the most important thing about the Global Green archiecture competition: the designs themselves…

Brad Pitt, Global Green, New Orleans, Hurrican Katrina, Architecture competition, Housing in New Orleans, Green Building, GreeNOLA, Andrew Kotchen and Matthew Berman of Workshop/APD

The winning design of the Global Green Competition was a proposal called GreeNOLA (NOLA being short for New Orleans, Louisiana), submitted by New York-based architects Andrew Kotchen and Matthew Berman of Workshop/APD.

The GreeNOLA plan calls for six houses and two multifamily units which employ energy-efficient appliances, solar power and recycled building materials, in addition to providing social services such as child care and a community garden. This proposal is designed to cut pollution and decrease operating energy use by 50 percent to 60 percent compared with traditional homes.

Global Green Design Competition, New Orleans, Brad Pitt, Sustainable Design for New Orleans, Green Building, Green Design, Frederic Schwarts, Scwartz ArchitectureRunner-up design: NOLA shotgunLOFT, Schwartz Architecture/Frederic Schwartz – NYC, NY

While we really liked the winning proposal, we were also quite partial to runner-up ShotgunLOFT design, entered by Frederic Schwartz of Schwartz Architecture. This design utitilizes modular prefab elements for sustainable cost-efficiency, and copious greenery with orchards and planted trellises to reduce the increased heat from the sun. As an added bonus, the designers gave thoughtful consideration as to how to finance the projects, proposing a self-help/sweat equity financial model.

Let us know what you think…
What green design proposal is best for New Orleans?

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

+ Global Green Competition

+ Link to the story on Yahoo News

As one of the comments pointed out, the image above from Workshop/APD is indeed from an earlier round in the competition. My apologies for the error. I will do a more extensive article on the winning GreeNOLA design in the next couple weeks.

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  1. November 2, 2007 at 9:20 am


  2. Larry Fitzgerald August 22, 2007 at 11:27 am

    I am a native Texan living in Sacramento. I have worked in the land title business and government research
    for over 30 years. I have spent alot of time in New Orleans and the coastal region of Louisiana doing tax and
    title research. In my younger days I spent alot of time at my Aunts house in the Big Easy, so when Katrina hit it was like a knife in my heart. I am willing to relocate and help rebuild my second home. I have degenerative
    disc disease and am not able to do any lifting. However, if you need a person that understands the legal system
    and how to get things done in Louisana…I will come. I believe in what you are doing and would be more than happy to come and do all I can to help. I have the desire and the willingness to come if needed.
    Larry Fitzgerald
    telephone #916-760-7513

  3. &raq... June 26, 2007 at 1:04 am

    […] Sustainable housing for New Orleans […]

  4. suraj March 21, 2007 at 1:19 am

    very nice thought

  5. Neal B. Aronson October 24, 2006 at 5:44 pm

    Messrs. Matt Peterson and Brad Pitt:

    With sincere interest in your endeavor, I am a licensed architect and general contractor possessing many years of experience in South Florida USA and I desire to contribute in some way. I would appreciate speaking with someone regarding the donation of residential architectural designs to Global Green for review.

    I can be contacted by email at, telephone (954) 985-2600 (my office, Aronson & Associates Architecture, P.A.) or fax (954) 985-1303. Office hours are 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday (EST). If I am unavailable when you call, please leave a voice message and your call will be returned the next business day.

    If you desire, please visit us at our website, “”. The firm is in the process of national marketing of our vast collection of residential designs. I am certain you will be impressed. My competent staff is capable of creating any residential designs you may require.

    I look forward to hearing from you as soon as you are able and being of service to you.

    Neal B. Aronson
    Principal Architect & President
    Aronson & Associates Architecture, P.A.

  6. Jill September 14, 2006 at 7:38 pm

    Hi All-

    Just want to make a correction here – as Jacob pointed out, the image above from Workshop/APD is indeed from an earlier round in the competition. My apologies for the error. I will do a more extensive article on the winning GreeNOLA design in the next couple weeks.

  7. Jon from Mass. September 7, 2006 at 9:26 pm

    I entered the competition and so did a fair amount of research about New Orleans and the specific competition site. Although the NOLA proposal was not my favorite the peculiar nature of New Orleans topography needs to be pointed out:

    First, the site is next to the Mississippi River levee which did not breach.
    Second, and more importantly, this is the highest land in New Orleans (next to the river) except for the French Quarter.
    The site in question never flooded.

    One might question why such an a-typical site was chosen for a prototype competition. It certainly led to a schizophrenic response, where the entrants tried to address flooding issues that weren’t really a threat at that location, because we all entered this competition to address issues of flooding.

    In general, I found the competition full of a lot of “talk” about sustainability and community re-building, but if you look closely there is little to back up that talk. Example: the entry suggesting wind-power, when the US wind potential maps all clearly show that there is no wind potential in New Orleans.

    Architects are always talking about buzzwords like “pre-fab”, “affordable housing”, and now “sustainability”, but it seems we live in a little bubble where reality is not as important as image. I personally like modern architecture and would love to live in a buildings like the finalists proposed, but I think the truth is that the real inhabitants of the ninth ward will not. Just because people are poor, doesn’t mean that they want to be pawns in some architectural experiment. Now that is an “inconvenient truth.”

  8. German September 7, 2006 at 1:17 pm


    I published a free translation of this article on my weblog.



  9. Jacob September 5, 2006 at 6:56 pm

    In all fairness, there is something to be said about showing too much information (especially if the rendering is particularly awful)… Would you want to live in a building with orange wood, a yellow curtain thing, and/or fake ivy glued on to the trellace? In my experience it is always beneficial to allow the judges and the public to imagine the project as they would like it. You can view the final boards here: Local firm Eskew Dumez and Ripple have one hell of an entry as well, and I’m surprised they didn’t take the whole thing. Oh, one other thing. The designs seem to have significantly changed from the first round, and the image of workshop/apd’s entry is from the older design.

  10. Mieke September 4, 2006 at 10:48 pm

    I agree with Richie’s respond. I like the design and all the considerations for energy conversation but it is not right for New Orleans. The possibility of flood is very likely to happen in the future, no matter how well the levees are build. Time is pressing, the people need guide lines and action and another approach should be used. The Dutch are very creative and a look at the following site makes you wonder why no one has proposed this yet. This will give you a good idea.


  11. Andreas Paulsen September 4, 2006 at 3:49 pm

    Housing is not always an issue of if its green, economical, fits the purpose and plan. Housing is a social issue to a large degree. Many years ago Moss Tents made several designs that could have been used in New Orleans to relieve strees and comfort. They even made a waterproof (3 month) foldable tent that could sleep a family of six in comfort. There was a disaster/earthquake in Mexico. The “houses-tents” were offered at no cost.
    They were no excepted by the Mexican government, “what, you want our people to live in cardboard boxes!!”
    Social, economic, cultural thought has to be changed in many places to expand on eco-friendly and affordable housing alternatives. The means governments to.

    Andreas hmmmm yes, a cardboard box, maybe for camping to start.

  12. Richie September 4, 2006 at 12:27 pm

    New Orleans has always been a fun, insane place… where ‘reality’ is suspended. Maybe this explains why such an insane design was chosen ? Anything that’s built in New Orleans that close to the levee’s MUST BE ELEVATED !!!!!! This design hugs the ground at New Orlean’s ‘Ground Zero’. How dumb is that ? DUMB !

    Lift these designs up please… and allow for water overflow from breached levees to flow beneath. It’s not about IF the leveees will be breached again… it’s about WHEN, and HOW SOON !

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