At Brad Pitt's Bidding, Frank Gehry Conjures a Pastel Duplex in New Orleans's 9th Ward

Frank Gehry's Duplex for the Make It Right foundation
(Courtesy Chad Chenier Photography / Make It Right)

Frank Gehry's architectural style, with all the fragmentation and glare of its facades, might seem to be out of place on a residential street and better suited for, say, a Disney Concert Hall. Yet, as one of the 21 architects Brad Pitt enlisted for his Make it Right Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to displaced residents of post-Katrina New Orleans, he's shown that with a little toning down, he can building something in a family neighborhood and feel right at home.

A duplex of Gehry's design was just completed in the Lower 9th Ward, the area hit hardest by the devastating 2005 storm, absent of the deconstructivist flourishes that normally characterize his work. The details in the design were actually chosen by the homeowner, a 9th Ward resident who plans to live in the front of the house and rent to tenants in the back. She had her say in everything, down to the paint colors and cabinetry, and the result was a LEED-certified, pastel pink and purple, 1,780-square-foot home, complete with a waterproof solar canopy and 510-square foot roof terrace. 

"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," said Gehry in a statement. "I love the colors that the homeowner chose. I could not have done it better." (In fact, the peachy tone of the siding, exposed wood beams, and solar panels give it a slight likeness to Gehry's own Santa Monica residence, known for being a mish-mash of workman-like materials).

Since Make it Right's launch in 2007, the foundation has been able to build 86 homes, including ones by starchitects David Adjaye and Shigeru Ban. This is Gehry's first home in Louisiana, and one of only 22 Gehry houses in the entire country.

To see more of Frank Gehry's duplex and other homes built for Make it Right, click the slide show.