As part of the initiative to rebuild New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Brooks + Scarpa’s Make it Right (MIR) home seeks to redefine the concept of a home into a flexible, multifunctional and adaptable space addressing the needs of today’s modern family, on a limited budget. Offering shelter and comfort, the MIR home breaks the prescriptive mold of the traditional home by creating public and private “zones” in which private space is deemphasized in favor of large public living areas. The organization of the space is intended to transform the way people live—away from a reclusive, isolating layout, towards a family-oriented, interactive space.
The inspiration for the exterior’s design came from American patchwork quilting traditions, particularly the distinctive Gee’s Bend quilt-makers of southwest Alabama. Recycled wooden pallets are repositioned here as a patchworked shade screen wrapping the building, an innovative alternative to expensive façade materials. The visually expressive pallets impart an imperfect, rough-hewn individuality, adding depth and texture. Brooks + Scarpa is working with local manufacturers to ensure the viability of this cost-effective and sustainable off-the-shelf product, easily obtainable and readily replaceable. The pallet wrapping is joined by decoratively perforated cement board on the east and west façades, providing both shade and privacy, while allowing views out and dappled, indirect daylight and breezes to enter. All the exterior elements will combine and interweave, emerging as a distinctive pattern-making aesthetic.