Brad Pitt’s nonprofit sues architect over ‘defective’ New Orleans homes

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Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation, which has been accused of building sub-standard homes for displaced residents of the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, has sued its executive architect over the construction work.

Make It Right planned to build 150 well-designed, energy-efficient homes and sell them at affordable rates to former residents, teachers and first responders as part of an effort to rebuild the area hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. Famous architects including Frank Gehry, David Adjaye and Shigeru Ban donated avant-garde designs, and Make It Right paid New Orleans architect John C. Williams over $4 million to turn those designs into blueprints and oversee construction, according to the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

The lawsuit accuses Williams of defective work, alleging that his designs exposed wood to rain and moisture, failed to include adequate waterproofing, and featured roofs that weren’t up to code. A number of design flaws made the homes susceptible to water intrusion, according to the lawsuit.


Repairing the damage caused by the allegedly flawed designs could cost the nonprofit $20 million, the lawsuit states.

Williams did not immediately return calls requesting comment on Thursday. In a series of interviews last month with NBC News, he said he was aware of “about a dozen” homes that needed repairs like pitching flat roofs and sealing leaks. He offered to do the work himself in the coming months.

“I helped create it so I’m responsible,” he said then. “That means I’m gonna track them down and make it right.”