Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I prefer pleasantly plump Tuesday, thank you very much.

Madame Sunday is not a big fan of Mardi Gras but bingeing in the middle of the week is always par for the course.*  And since we just discussed my feelings regarding Lent, Wednesday is just another hungover hump day filled with regret and Taco Bell and subsequently more regret. If I was a real patriot I should probably put celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans on my bucket list (I'm renaming that to CHAMPAGNE bucket list because it’s fancier) for the experience but I don't really enjoy shitfaced frat boys and zydeco. It's like nobody told those people that it's not 1997 and they aren't filming a Girls Gone Wild video 24/7. My lovely lady lumps only come out in the comfort of my own headlining stage not the middle of some cobblestone street.  I only permit benjamins to be thrown in my face – not beads. But that’s just because I’m a classy madame after my rehabilitation.

In case you don't remember, green and purple is also one of my least favorite color combos so that really puts a damper on my desire to go buck wild in the French Quarter and involuntarily vomit at the site of a bunch of purple and green beads/streamers/Gstrings. All that crap isn't really what creole is about. I only enjoy authentic Cajun things like voodoo, Emeril and Bill Compton.

I still want to vomit but not for anything involving the color wheel.

In an effort, however, to write about something somewhat relevant to the "holiday" I decided to take a gander at the rebuilding of the lower ninth ward by Brad Pitt (and my hero Mike Holmes and his show) and his Make It Right Foundation. Now let’s disregard the fact that experts say it might be a waste of time to rebuild in the likelihood of future storm activity or that the area has been sinking for a hundred years because those same experts said we have global warming and I think this winter proves how stupid those assholes are.  Also I’m a girl and don’t understand complex things like working the DVD player and global climatological patterns like our present period of extremely negative Arctic oscillation that is responsible for this year's extreme weather. Oh look – a baby bunny! Awwwww….

Let’s just talk about pretty things like color and design! Yippeeeeeeeeeeee!

Make It Right has planned for 150 homes to be built and as of now they have 15 completed and occupied with funding ready for another 90 or so.  Houses are about $150,000 and are paid for by the homeowners with low interest loans and donations.  All of the designs are prefab and sustainable LEED platinum certified.  Last year they introduced plans for duplexes including one designed by Frank Gehry.  Tingly with excitement aren't you?
single family prototype rendering by architect Shigeru Ban

both images via Life Without Buildings
I think something was lost in the translation...  That looks like shit on sticks.

from Concordia Architects via Nola
This looks nice!  Oh wait...
the side view via Life Without Buildings
The roof is angled at 30 degrees to maximize sunlight on the solar panels.  Well, I guess that's good but it still looks like it's melting.  New Orleans is pretty hot.

a Kieran Timberlake designed home from here
There are multiple home plans each one by a different architecture firm and fairly customizable on the inside.   Can you customize the paint colors?  gawdolmighty...

the back view from The Incremental House
It looks lonely and naked sitting next to that yellow house.

the Float house by Morphosis Architects from here
The Float house is appropriately named because although it sits on pylons it will float in case of a flood. It also collects its own water using runoff rainwater from the roof.  I really hate that "ironwork" railing that I'm guessing is meant to update the traditional ones New Orleans is known for.  It's like the architects took your beautiful tradition and then slapped you in the face with it ugly style.

freshly completed house designed by GRAFT

another design by GRAFT
Are you getting the paint from the 'mistake' shelf at Home Depot?

prototype rendering by GRAFT Architects via Life Without Buildings
Apparently what the house will look like in 10 years with the addition of an antique car and jungle landscaping.   Or is that some kind of sneaky way of putting in an old hooptie-looking car because that family is black?  That is soo racist GRAFT!!! 

an Eskew Dumez Ripple house from NYTimes

from Billes Designs here

side view

I feel like these homes are missing something… mmmmmhhhhh what could it be. Maybe… ? No. This is hard. Oh I know! It’s called fucking HISTORIAL CONTEXT!!!!  I'll even take context with its neighbor! Christ it doesn’t look like a neighborhood is looks like Dwell magazine's cheap cousin ate some skittles and then threw up. It might have something to do with the fact that each design is by a different architect from around the world – California to Japan. Way to build continuity there Brad. I love architecture as much as any famous millionaire with a heart of gold but is it soo architecturally wrong to offer a stylistic homecoming to these people as well? It's like saying "hey displaced lower-income people, your old homes sucked ass so we're going to build new fancy ones that WE think are cool because if you knew anything about design you'd see how superior these are." What the fuck does some dude in Japan know about living in the lower ninth ward? The architects are trying so hard but it's turning into a neighborhood of novelty not a community of homes.

But I guess the joke's on me because would anybody be talking about this development half as much if they were building boring A-frames? Despite the implied socio-economic/architectural-style gap lecture I would totally live in most of these houses (they are, by far, nicer than mine) but off in my own secret parcel of land where it will be appreciated in artistic pictorial reviews in the real Dwell. I like to be pedantic in private. Minus the skittles.

In all honesty though I can suck it because Brad Pitt is one of the few people actually trying to help and he could build a house shaped like a giant turd with a door and we should be thankful because it’s better than what anybody else it doing. Perhaps rather than perpetuate the cycle of people that are perceived as less-than in our country we should try to give the least fortunate citizens our best - best in design, best in sustainability and best in effort.

Would it be too much to ask though that all the turds be designed by the same architect?

*Apparently Blogger is not a big fan of the awesomeness of this post because it crashed and I lost everything and had to rewrite it - hence the fact that it's late Wednesday and I posted about an event that happened on Tuesday. Deal with it bitches. You better pretend to like it since I typed this fucker twice.


  1. OK so the very sad thing here is that while in school I met one of the architect firms that submitted designs for this community. He used the same concept of the shotgun house. Same overall architectural style to pay honor to the community that has always been there. One of the main difference is that he used materials that were all relatively local, he had these great southern porches that when there was a storm folded up to use as a protective feature. There was solar panels, windows places to maintain great cross ventilation since it is a southern home. Community gardens, and a ton more. Sadly his area looked like a community, everyone said they loved his concept and they didn't pick him.

  2. I guess he wasn't a world renowned architect that rubbed shoulders with Brangelina. So sad.

    thanks shannon!