“When Brad Pitt launched Make It Right, he promised the residents of the Lower 9th Ward that he would help them build back stronger, safer and better able to survive the next storm or flood. The Float House is helping us deliver on that promise.” - Tom Darden, Executive Director, Make It Right Foundation
The immense possibilities of the Make It Right initiative became immediately apparent to us: how to re-inhabit New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward given its precarious ecological condition? The reality of rising water levels presents a serious threat for coastal cities around the world. These complex issues require a deep level of research and analysis, which was possible through the collaboration between Morphosis and UCLA Architecture and Urban Design. The UCLA students’ extensive studies of the ecology, history and culture of the region, as well as global housing and building strategies, led to a broad understanding of the macro issues. The environmental implications of rebuilding in the Lower Ninth Ward demand radical solutions. In response, we developed a highly performative, 1,000 square foot house that is technically innovative in terms of its safety factor – its ability to float – as well as its sustainability, mass production and method of assembly.
The FLOAT House collaboration provided a phenomenal opportunity for students to realize a real world project and engage directly in every step of the process, from research and design to construction. The ingenuity of the FLOAT House prototype is a direct product of this collaborative process, which generated a radically new approach to mass-producing low-cost homes that respond to local culture and climate—a prototype that can be deployed globally. This unprecedented project could never have materialized without the vision, commitment, and personal involvement of UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture Dean Christopher Waterman. It is precisely this type of project that advances education, generates innovation, and expands students’ view of designs power to impact society.
The UCLA students involved include: Linda Fu (Cerritos, California), Saji Matuk (Merritt Island, Florida), Ian Ream (Lafayette, California), Monica Ream (Walnut Creek, California), Erin Smith (Traverse City, Michigan), Jeanne Stahl (New Orleans, Louisiana), and Ryan Whitacre (Bethel, Ohio).