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Frank Gehry-designed SIP house brightens up New Orleans neighborhood

© Chad Chenier Photography / Make It Right

Check out SIPA’s new case study about Make It Right’s effort to sustainably rebuild over 150 homes in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. After touring the storm-damaged neighborhood, actor and activist Brad Pitt partnered with architecture firm McDonough + Partners to found Make it Right. A major goal of the non-profit organization was to construct each home in an affordable and sustainable way using materials like structural insulated panels (SIPs).

The results have been impressive. All Make It Right homes are LEED Platinum certified—the highest level under the U.S. Green Building Council’s popular green building rating system. The cost of each home is around $150,000, or $130 per sq ft. Receiving designs from architects around the world, Make It Right chose 27 different home designs, including the Frank Gehry-designed home pictured above.

The 1,780 sq. ft. duplex is one of only 22 Gehry residences in the United States. Gehry designed the duplex with a front-to-back organization for greater privacy between the two residents and a better flow of interior space. A waterproof solar canopy covers the 510 sq. ft. rooftop terrace and the home features six additional covered porches.

“I really believe in what Brad is doing for the community and was honored to be included,” said Frank Gehry on Make It Right’s blog. “I wanted to make a house that I would like to live in and one that responded to the history, vernacular and climate of New Orleans. I love the colors that the homeowner chose. I could not have done it better.”

After experimenting with several different framing solutions, Make It Right settled on SIPs from SIPs Team USA as their preferred building method. Their homes built with a SIP building envelope have HERS indexes in the range of 17 to 24, about 80 percent more energy-efficient than a home built to today’s building codes. SIPs also greatly reduced the time and costs involved in construction, allowing these homes to go up as quickly as possible.

Read the full case study (pdf)

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