Monday, July 6, 2009

Mississippi: Katrina Cottages

Cottage Square in Ocean Springs, MS

The original Katrina Cottage designed by Marianne Cutsano

Mississippi Cottage

I went to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to learn more about the Katrina Cottage. Developed out of the New Urbanist charrettes after the storm, it is one of the few decent examples of architecture/planning that I think has come out of the process. It is something that has actually gone to scale and is being put to use. Designed as an alternative to a FEMA trailer that was built and looked better, it was an option many people could be more comfortable with and something people felt a little more up to the standards that one would expect out of our country. Digging into it has been interesting and revealed much about American’s approach to housing.
One interesting location where one can track the progress and development of the Katrina Cottage is at Cottage Square in Ocean Springs, MS. There, architect Bruce Tolar has developed a series of designs and created a small community. Having been involved since the beginning with the charrettes led by New Urbanists to look at how communities could redevelop, he has continued to champion the Katrina Cottage as an model for gulf coast recovery, but also for many middle class Americans. The original one was designed by Marianne Cutsano, an architect from New Jersey. It is about 345 SF. The space is quaint, but functional and pretty versatile. It has a very small kitchen, bathroom and bedroom, that has four beds in the form of two bunk beds. She has since teamed up with Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse to sell them directly to consumers. At Cottage Square is also the Lowe’s Cottage. Bruce has built two other buildings, one of which serves as his office and the other has been converted to a hair salon and actually works pretty well. His business sell floor plans of these ranging from 360 SF to 1825 SF. There is a mix of site and factory built houses there.


deirdre g said...

WOW I love the design of the cottages. Beautiful inside and out.

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