Metropolis talks to Tom Darden III about Make It Right’s progress and goals in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward

In 2006, William McDonough joined Brad Pitt in an ambitious pro bono project in New Orleans, and today the Make It Right Foundation is progressing steadily toward its ambitious goals and working with architects from around the world to create Cradle to Cradle inspired, affordable, healthy, and LEED Platinum homes for this community. Metropolis magazine’s Martin Pedersen talks with Make It Right’s Tom Darden…

Here’s the intro–

On my second week in New Orleans, on a sweltering August day, I went on a bus tour of the Lower Ninth Ward, sponsored by the local AIA chapter. It was a dispiriting experience. While much of the city had seen its fortunes rise, the Lower Ninth, the neighborhood most affected by Hurricane Katrina, was still a kind of lunar landscape, desolate and depopulated. There were, however, two notable exceptions: the Holy Cross neighborhood (which had seen about half of its residents return) and Brad Pitt’s Make It Right development, a bright cluster of about 75 houses, designed by a veritable who’s who of contemporary architecture: Kiernan Timberlake, Shigeru Ban, Graft, Morphosis, as well as a number of notable local architects.

Make It Right remains an active construction site, the ultimate work in progress. Led here in New Orleans by Tom Darden, the organization has set an ambitious goal: to complete all 150 houses by 2014. (They plan to break ground on a Frank Gehry-designed house soon.) While working on the Game Changers profile of Tim Duggan, Make It Right’s landscape architect, I interviewed Darden. The 32-year-old executive director talked about the background of this seminal project, its unforeseen challenges, and its potential for global impact.