Versatile Katrina Cottage — a dozen types
The Katrina Cottage is one of the most versatile ideas that have come out of the new urbanist Gulf Coast charrettes. Steve Mouzon of Placemakers and the New Urban Guild has outlined a dozen versions of the cottage, which he defined as “a unit that may be manufactured, modularized, panelized, or site-built, and is 1,600 square feet or under.” He adds: “Because the new urbanists have controlled the dialogue to date, the units should possess an exceptional quality of design (that’s our bonus for inventing and promoting the idea).” The cottages have all been vernacular in style, although there is nothing to prevent a modernist or classical version.
Mouzon’s versions and descriptions:
Katrina Tiny Cottage — 500 square feet or under for 1 story, or 700 square feet or under for 2 stories. This is largely concurrent with the definition being developed for the Katrina FEMA Cottage.
Katrina Thin Cottage — Similar to the Katrina Tiny Cottage, except longer. The Katrina Thin Cottage is similar to a single-barrel shotgun house, except you don’t have to go through a bedroom to get to another room.
Katrina Double Cottage — Similar to a double-barrel shotgun house, except you don’t have to go through a bedroom to get to another room.
Katrina Duplex Cottage — Indiscernible from the Katrina Double Cottage from the outside except when Katrina Double Cottages have only one front door; the Katrina Duplex Cottage is actually two units.
Katrina Loft Cottage — Usually appears to be a one-story unit from the exterior, but contains a loft.
Katrina Tall Cottage — Two stories (or taller.)
Katrina Courtyard Cottage — Made up of two or more modules that wrap around a courtyard.
Katrina Live/Work — Just what the name implies; modularizable live/work units.
Katrina Commercial — Retail or office only. Contains open space plus a bath, probably a kitchenette, and maybe an office or storage room.
Katrina Corner Cottage — Able to turn either the end or the side (or both, in the case of a corner lot) to the street. These are particularly useful when designing a Katrina Cottage Court on two lots of an existing residential street because the long side is turned to the street and looks like a regular house, dampening the neighbors’ objections to the smaller units.
Katrina Carriage Cottage — Technique for raising a Katrina Cottage an entire floor so as to park probably one car beneath (from the rear.)
Katrina Kernel Cottage — Cottage capable of expanding directly from the unit itself, not just by connecting porches and the like. Because more of the walls get used up as the cottages get smaller, this is an exceptionally difficult type to design.
Tom Low of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company reports that a modular classroom version of the Katrina Cottage is being design, which he calls the Katrina Inspired Learning Cottage.
The term Katrina Cottage was coined by Andres Duany two weeks prior to the Mississippi Renewal Forum, Mouzon reports. The first Katrina Cottage built in prototype form, a 300 sq. ft. unit of a Mississippi vernacular style, was designed by Marianne Cusato.