Can I submit a design to be built?
How did you select architects for your projects?
Why are your New Orleans houses at different places in relation to the front yard?
How did you pick the location of where to build in New Orleans?
How were the architects picked?
Was there a masterplan done before building?
Are you guys plan on doing any infrastructure in the neighborhood?
What is the floating house?
Why are there so many designs?
Are the design architects still involved?
What is the average square footage of the houses designed for the Lower Ninth Ward?
How much changed from the original designs to what are being built now?

Can I submit a design to be built?

At this time, we are not accepting additional designs for our projects in New Orleans and Kansas City. However, we’d love to see your work – please feel free to share your designs and ideas with Make It Right and others in our Laboratory.

How did you select architects for your projects?

Learn all about our design selection process in the Design section of our Library.

Why are your homes at different places in relation to the front yard?

We work with current New Orleans’ city zoning laws in an effort to move the homes as closer to the street. New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward has an historical “porch culture.” Homeowners like to sit on their porches and interact with neighbors on the sidewalk and across the street. While zoning prevents some homes from moving closer, we were able to move the houses as close as 10′ from the front setback.

How did you pick where to build in the city?

We chose the Lower 9th Ward, the neighborhood hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. Within the Lower 9th Ward, we chose a target area – a 20 block radius – to create density in a neighborhood where 4,000 homes had been wiped out.

Is there a masterplan for the neighborhood?

The city of New Orleans and private groups have developed more than 15 masterplans for the Lower 9th Ward. The city masterplans deal primarily with zoning, parking, etc. Other plans are conceptual ideas for the neighborhood: ranging from returning all the land to green space and eliminating private residence to commercial development.

In a standard master plan, the developer owns the property or acquires the property. In the Lower 9th Ward, Make It Right does not own all the lots in the neighborhood or even in our target zone – negating the possibility of a masterplan. Before Katrina, the Lower 9th Ward boasted the highest rates of homeownership in the city. In working with the community before we began building, it was clear to us that retaining property rights was important to homeowners. We chose to focus on rebuilding homes for people on lots that they owned, rather than trying to redevelop the neighborhood under a masterplan.

Is Make It Right involved in improving infrastructure in the neighborhood?

Yes. We worked with the City of New Orleans to develop a sustainable streets plan, utilizing pervious concrete to reduce flooding.

What is the floating house?

The Float House, designed by Morphosis Architects, has a floating foundation similar to a boat. In a severe flood, the home floats as the water rises and returns to the ground as water recedes. The Float House is anchored in place with two vertical steel masts at each end.

Why are there so many designs?

Each homeowner chooses the design that best suits the needs and style of his or her family. We wanted to offer a range of designs – not build cookie-cutter houses and expect homeowners to conform to them.

Are the design architects still involved?

Yes. Make It Right’s architects are involved in redesign and value engineering processes and updated on the status of their homes under construction.

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What is the average square footage of the houses designed for the Lower Ninth Ward?

Single family homes average 1400 square feet.

How much changed from the original designs to what are being built now?

Budget determines changes in design, materials and building systems. We try to maintain a balance between cutting costs to keep homes affordable and altering design intent – but when these goals are in conflict, our priority must be affordability for low-income communities. When a cost increase is incurred, we analyze the expense to see how quickly it is offset by energy and maintenance savings over time. As with any project designed by an architect, there is bound to be push and pull between the designer’s vision of the building and the cost of construction. We have worked through these issues with our architects by working closely with them through the value-engineering process.