Brad Pitt’s Foundation Plans a Project in Montana
The actor’s Make It Right foundation will build 20 solar-powered houses at the Fort Peck reservation to help ease chronic overcrowding
Brad Pitt's Make It Right foundation will try to make a dent this year in a housing shortage at Fort Peck, a 2-million-acre Native American reservation in Montana where housing is in such short supply that some families sleep in shifts.
The actor's foundation, which got its start constructing 150 houses in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina clobbered the city's Lower Ninth Ward, will start on 20 LEEDLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED for Homes is the residential green building program from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). While this program is primarily designed for and applicable to new home projects, major gut rehabs can qualify. -Platinum homes later this year. The foundation also helped fund projects in Newark and Kansas City.
The new houses at Fort Peck will have three or four bedrooms and two or three bathrooms. They will be rented to tribal members whose incomes are at or below 60% of the median income in the area, according to the foundation's announcement. Ownership will transfer to the tenants after 15 years.
The project was launched last year with design meetings between architects and members of the Sioux and Assiniboine tribes at Fort Peck, located in Poplar, Montana. Foundation spokeswoman Taylor Royle described the sessions, and the situation at Fort Peck, in in a series of blogs last year.
"Hundreds of people are on a waiting list for the poor quality homes that exist," Royle wrote. "We hear stories from people who have nine families living in a five-bedroom home and take 'sleeping shifts' to share the limited beds."
The reservation, described by The Washington Post as a bleak backwater in an article last year, has an unemployment rate of more than 50% and widespread drug and alcohol problems.
The houses will be solar-powered
There will be five house designs in all. Although Royle didn't have a lot of specifics about the buildings, Make It Right aims for the "highest standards in green buildings" that reflect "Cradle to CradleTerm used to describe the recycling of waste materials and manufactured products into new products rather than permanently disposing of them (see cradle to grave). The concept and its societal implications was the focus of the 2002 book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by chemist Michael Braungart and architect William McDonough. " objectives.
Among features typically found in Make It Right houses are advanced framingHouse-framing techniques in which lumber use is optimized, saving material and improving the energy performance of the building envelope. to minimize the use of wood and allow more insulation, interior finishes with reduced volatile organic compounds, indigenous landscaping adapted to the environment, and photovoltaic(PV) Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow. panels.
Royle said the Fort Peck homes would be "solar powered," but it wasn't clear whether that meant they would be net-zero energyProducing as much energy on an annual basis as one consumes on site, usually with renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics or small-scale wind turbines. designs. Insulation and mechanical systems, she said, would depend on the particular house. Some will be stick-built and others will be modular.
A number of companies are donating building materials, including Shaw Floors, Cosentino (quartz surfaces), Benjamin Moore, Unico (small-duct heating and air conditioning), and Leviton (electrical devices).
Architects and designers represented GRAFT, Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative, Architecture for Humanity, Method Homes and Living homes.
- GRAFT via Make It Right
- Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative
- Living Homes
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