Here’s a great piece from the new issue of The Atlantic talking about all the experiments in green, affordable housing springing up in hurricane-devastated New Orleans. Bizarrely, the actor Brad Pitt is a huge player in this market. Sounds like he’s doing a lot of good there, though I personally side with the rebuilding aesthetic and ethic pushed by Andres Duany, who doesn’t go for the modernist and/or non-local-vernacular designs favored by those surrounding Pitt. Duany hits on a brilliant observation about New Orleans in this passage:

“When I originally thought of New Orleans, I was conditioned by the press to think of it as an extremely ill-governed city, full of ill-educated people, with a great deal of crime, a great deal of dirt, a great deal of poverty,” said Duany, who grew up in Cuba. “And when I arrived, I did indeed find it to be all those things. Then one day I was walking down the street and I had this kind of brain thing, and I thought I was in Cuba. Weird! And then I realized at that moment that New Orleans was not an American city, it was a Caribbean city. Once you recalibrate, it becomes the best-governed, cleanest, most efficient, and best-educated city in the Caribbean. New Orleans is actually the Geneva of the Caribbean.”

Duany said that many of the shotgun houses in New Orleans were built by the fathers and grandfathers of people living in them today, and few of them meet building codes. But no one worries about paying mortgages or insurance. “The situation is that the housing is essentially paid off, and it allows people to accumulate leisure,” he said. “What’s special about New Orleans is that it’s the only place in the United States where you can have a first-rate urban life for very little money.” What happened after Katrina, Duany said, was that FEMA and others came to town with detailed requirements for record-keeping and property titles, then insisted on stringent building codes that would make all the houses hurricane-proof. This might seem like common sense, he said, but it’s “essentially unworkable for a Caribbean city.”

So the central problem, according to Duany: “All the do-goody people attempting to preserve the culture are the same do-gooders who are raising the standards for the building of houses, and are the same do-gooders who are giving people partial mortgages and putting them in debt,” he said. “They have such a profound misunderstanding of the culture of the Caribbean that they’re destroying it. The heart of the tragedy is that New Orleans is not being measured by Caribbean standards. It’s being measured by Minnesota standards.”

I’m going to have to think about that for a while: New Orleans as a Caribbean city. More broadly, you could think of South Louisiana, even the non-Cajun parts, as essentially Mediterranean. This is especially visible in the non-Cajun parts, such as where I grew up. Most of us were Protestant, but boy, did we feel different from North Louisiana.

Anyway, this from the article is the best definition of sustainabilty I’ve ever seen:

Two years ago, at a conference on traditional building held at the New Orleans convention center, the architect and New Urbanist Steve Mouzon asked a crowd of contractors and architects to think about a basic point. “The very core of sustainability,” he said, “can be found in a simple question: ‘Can it be loved?'”

Think about that as you’re driving around your town, city or suburb today. Look at the buildings around you and think about which ones can be loved, and which ones can’t. The ones that can be loved are the ones likely to be there 50 years from now. Here in Dallas, we’ve just opened a couple of big, expensive, starchitect-designed arts buildings. I’ve not been to either, but neither one looks especially lovable. Cool, but not lovable.


Admin   October 25th, 2009   News Comments Off on Brad Pitt, New Orleans home visionary

Brad Pitt and George Clooney could be battling it out for a forthcoming political role, if Mayor of London Boris Johnson has his way.

Attending the Bright Star premiere at the London Film Festival, the Conservative politician was asked who he’d like to play him in a biopic – and said Brad would be number one choice followed by Up In The Air star George.

He joked: “It’s this guy Brad Pitt isn’t it, the obvious contender – and if he’s not available then Clooney.”

Boris also said up-and-coming actors could draw inspiration from poet John Keats, who is played by Ben Whishaw in Bright Star.

“John Keats is a classic example – young guy, came from nowhere, he had no preparation for the fame he discovered,” said the former Have I Got News For You presenter. “A man of unbelievable talent inspired by great literary works – in the same way we want to inspire young Londoners with film, that’s why we’re promoting it across London (with the film festival) and doing all the things we’re doing.”


Admin   October 20th, 2009   News Comments Off on Brad or George to play the mayor?

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were invited to make a special visit to the SOS Children’s Village in Amman, Jordan, by Her Majesty Queen Noor. While it was Brad Pitt’s first visit to an SOS Children’s Village, Angelina Jolie was glad to return.

Children and mothers of the SOS Children’s Village in Amman were overjoyed to receive the visit of a very special friend on 1 October: UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and Academy Award winner Angelina Jolie had decided to drop by again, this time in the company of her partner, the actor Brad Pitt. While Ms. Jolie had already visited the village in 2003, committing to covering the running costs of one family house, it was the first time Mr. Pitt had ever been to an SOS Children’s Village.

Having been invited by Her Majesty Queen Noor Al Hussein, who is the Honorary Chairman of SOS Children’s Villages Jordan, the couple stated that they were having a wonderful time in Jordan with their children, and Ms. Jolie went on to say “The SOS model of providing care for children without parental care is one of the best, as they are still in a family setting within their own country. We hope more people learn about their programmes and give them support”.

H.M Queen Noor Al Hussein introduced the SOS Children’s Villages model to Jordan in 1983, and has worked tirelessly to help the organization flourish in Jordan ever since. “We are very grateful to her Majesty Queen Noor for all she has done for displaced Iraqis since 2003 and appreciate the dedication of King Abdullah and Queen Rania to their incredible humanitarian initiatives” added Angelina in recognition to the Royal family’s effort.
Brad Pitt was happy to play with the children

In 2007, Angelina Jolie visited SOS Children’s Villages’ trauma therapy centre at the Oure Cassoni refugee camp in Chad, one of twelve camps providing shelter, food and treatment for severely traumatised women and children who have escaped the horrors in Darfur. Ms. Jolie wanted to see the situation with her own eyes and make the international community aware of the plight of the people from Darfur. Just a few months later, SOS Children’s Villages was one of three agencies working in Chad who received a one million dollar donation from the Jolie/Pitt Foundation.

Angelina Jolie promised to support the upcoming radio campaign of SOS Children’s Villages “SOS!Childhood” by building awareness for the fact that childhood is at risk and that everybody should support this noble cause in every part of the world. The SOS!Childhood campaign will start late October 2009 and will last till early 2010, with campaigns to celebrate the 60th birthday of SOS Children’s Villages taking place all over the world and being promoted by scores of radio stations worldwide.

Ms. Jolie, who was named a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador in 2001, has visited refugee camps all over the world, raised public awareness for the plight of refugees and displaced persons in regions of conflict and even created the Jolie/Pitt Foundation together with her partner, which donates money to humanitarian organisations seeking to relieve human suffering. SOS Children’s Villages is privileged to count such a dedicated humanitarian among its supporters and hopes to be able to welcome Ms. Jolie and her family again very soon.


Admin   October 20th, 2009   News Comments Off on Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt visit SOS Children Jordan

A project helping New Orleans recover from Hurricane Katrina, fronted by Hollywood actor Brad Pitt, will build what’s being dubbed as the ‘largest and greenest community of single-family homes’ in the world.

The post-Katrina housing initiative Make It Right New Orleans has already built 13 homes that meet the highest standards of the US Green Building Council, LEED Platinum, and there are plans in the pipeline for at least 150 more platinum homes.

They will be built in a part of the city nearest the disastrous breech Industrial Canal Levee which wiped out by the neighbourhood.

Speaking at an event honouring social and environmental projects, former President Bill Clinton said: “Make It Right is showing us how we can transform those parts of our nation that have fallen behind the most, whether through neglect, poverty or disaster.

“Make It Right offers a blueprint for how to build homes that instill pride and combine to form communities of hope and opportunity.

“By following the Make It Right model, we can generate the green collar jobs our economy needs to move forward and advance building practices that reduce carbon emissions, while at the same time growing neighborhoods where families can thrive.”

Rick Fedrizzi, CEO of the USGBC added: “Through Make It Right we are reminded that our work is not about buildings, but rather about the people within them.”

“In facing our nation’s unprecedented economic and environmental crises, we must change the way the
places in which we live, work, learn and play are built and operated.

“What we’re seeing with green building goes beyond energy-efficiency to a transformation of entire communities – and the lives of the people who live there.

Make It Right has proved that green building can be both affordable and high performing.”


Admin   October 20th, 2009   News 1 Comment

For much of Knox and Vivienne Jolie-Pitt’s short lives, they’ve been holed up at Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s huge mansions in LA and France, but Now has got the lowdown on their daily lives.

A family friend reveals: ‘Angie wanted to keep them sheltered from prying eyes. It means it’s been easier for the twins to have a routine. The babies both love playtime and are creative, thanks to being surrounded by their older brothers and sisters.

‘Viv’s very much a girl’s girl; she loves dolls and little tea sets, while Knox is crazy about his toy cars and loves playing in the mud. They have reading time before bed at around 7pm and an iPod with sleepytime music that helps them nod off.

‘Knox always has an arm round Viv. Brad and Angie sometimes have to leave them with a big team of nannies and security minders when they go away on UN trips or filming, but their routine never changes.’

Unlike their more outgoing siblings Maddox, eight, Pax, five, Zahara, four, and Shiloh, three, Brad and Angie feared the twins were too vulnerable to cope with any paparazzi intrusion.

That’s because Vivienne was born at just 5lb and is reportedly allergic to milk and both she and Knox suffered severe colic caused by digestive problems since birth.

A family friend says: ‘The twins’ digestive enzymes just weren’t functioning properly, especially Vivienne’s – she has a lot of food allergies, including cow’s milk, so feeding them has been really tricky.

‘They don’t go out nearly as often as their siblings because Angie and Brad just feel incredibly protective of them. The babies have had trouble sleeping and Angie says she can’t remember the last time she slept two hours straight.’

Fortunately, Vivienne and Knox’s ‘sensitive’ tummies have settled down and they pair recently enjoyed an ice cream with mum and dad at the Licky Licious ice cream shop in Amman, Jordan.

See the full story about Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s kids in Now magazine dated 19 October 2009 – out now!


Admin   October 17th, 2009   News Comments Off on The secret lives of Brad and Angelina’s twins

Architects have unveiled the first floating house permitted in the United States for actor Brad Pitt’s ‘Make It Right Foundation’ in New Orleans, which is designed to float securely with rising water levels.

According to a report in Environmental News Network (ENN), the FLOAT House has been designed by Morphosis Architects, under the direction of renowned architect and UCLA distinguished Professor Thom Mayne.

Mayne led a team from Morphosis Architects and graduate students from UCLA Architecture and Urban Design in this innovative housing project to help with the rebuilding of the Lower Ninth Ward post-Hurricane Katrina.

The concept emerged from a study of the flooding record, social and cultural history of the city, and the ecology of the Mississippi Delta.

The FLOAT House is a new model for flood-safe, affordable and sustainable housing that is designed to float securely with rising water levels.

In the event of flooding, the base of the house – reconceived as a chassis – acts as a raft, allowing the house to rise vertically on guide posts, securely floating up to twelve feet as water levels rise.

While not designed for occupants to remain in the home during a hurricane, this innovative structure aims to minimize catastrophic damage and preserve the homeowner’s investment in their property.

This approach also allows for the early return of occupants in the aftermath of a hurricane or flood.

According to Tom Darden, Executive Director of the Make It Right Foundation, “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.”

“For the first time, this house brings technology to Americans that was created to help save homes and speed recovery from flooding,” he said.

“It’s an approach and design that could and should be replicated all over the world now threatened with increased flooding caused by climate change,” he added.

Designed in response to Ninth Ward residents’ specific needs, the FLOAT House serves as a scalable prototype that can be mass-produced and adapted to the needs of communities world-wide facing similar challenges.

The state-of-the-art home uses high-performance systems, energy efficient appliances, and prefabrication methods to produce an affordable, sustainable house that generates its own power, minimizes resource consumption, and collects its own water. (ANI)


Admin   October 17th, 2009   News Comments Off on Architects unveil ‘Brad Pitt’s’ floating house that can fight floods effectively

I finally got around to capping the bonus features for Ocean’s Eleven and Ocean’s Twelve. It’s not much, but at least it’s something. lol. Enjoy! :)

Movie Productions > Ocean’s Eleven > DVD Menus
Movie Productions > Ocean’s Eleven > The Making of Ocean’s Eleven
Movie Productions > Ocean’s Eleven > Cast & Crew
Movie Productions > Ocean’s Eleven > Trailer
Movie Productions > Ocean’s Twelve > DVD Menus
Movie Productions > Ocean’s Twelve > Trailer

Admin   October 17th, 2009   Gallery, Ocean's Eleven, Ocean's Twelve Comments Off on ‘Ocean’s Eleven & Twelve’ DVD Bonus Features

I just added 1,000+ captures of Brad from Ocean’s Twelve. Bonus features of Eleven and Twelve will be added soon, as well as captures from Thirteen! Enjoy! :)

Movie Productions > Ocean’s Twelve > Captures

Admin   October 15th, 2009   Gallery, Ocean's Twelve Comments Off on “Ocean’s Twelve” Captures

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are planning to add to their brood — they want two more kids, according to reports.

The Hollywood superstars — who already raise six children together (3 biological; 3 adopted) — will apparently adopt another baby and have another biological child.

“They want one more biological baby and an adopted baby — for now,” a source told America’s Life & Style magazine. “But who knows what the future holds. Some people get addicted to drugs and alcohol, but Brad and Angie are addicted to children.”

Jolie, 34, recently revealed her desire to have more kids.

“I can see further additions to the family — both adopted and our own,” she told British magazine Stylist in its October issue.

“We have to make sure we can devote enough time to each of them.”

“There’s always one of ours demanding that I help color in something very important with crayons,” added Jolie, who is mom to Maddox, 8, Pax, 5, Zahara, 4, Shiloh, 3, and 15-month-old twins Knox and Vivienne.


Admin   October 15th, 2009   News Comments Off on Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt ‘Want Two More Kids’

Has Angelina rubbed off on Brad? Or maybe it’s vice versa.

It’s been four years since Katrina ripped through the Gulf Coast, and many areas are still recovering. To move these efforts along, Brad Pitt has put his celebrity weight behind rebuilding efforts in New Orleans’ 9th Ward. Working with the Clinton Global Initiative and the Cherokee Gives Back Foundation, Pitt set up the Make It Right Foundation back in 2007, pledging $5 million of his own money.Â

“Make It Right is devoted to catalyzing sustainable development in collaboration with the local New Orleans community,”  the Clinton Global Initiative website explains.

Make It Right has completed 13 energy-efficient houses and is employing 1,500 local contractors in the work.  In addition to putting roofs over heads, the homes save owners, on average, 30% on energy bills each month.

In a press release, Pitt says their work proves that energy-efficient homes can be affordable, and that the program should serve as a model for builders and communities worldwide.Â

“By this time next year, when we put the lid on our 150th house, that house will be built for the same price as any substandard house that’s being built in New Orleans, if not cheaper,” Pitt says.


Admin   October 15th, 2009   News Comments Off on Brad Pitt’s New Orleans homes — a model for elsewhere?
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