Monday, March 27, 2006

Son Of Katrina Cottage

The Katrina Cottage is gaining even more popularity among the higher-ups in the Louisiana and Mississippi. It is even causing more people to question FEMA and its interpretation of the Stafford Act which supposedly prevents the federal government from providing "permanent housing".

But the cottage is gaining notoriety not just among building/design and government circles. Friday evening while waiting outside a furniture warehouse to pick-up and chest of drawers from my son's room, the security guard asked me if I had ever heard of the Katrina Cottage. For a moment I thought my annonymity had been blown.

Furthermore, this new rendiditon of the cottage built in Chalmette is not only larger, but apparently more flood resistant in addition to other advantages over the FEMA trailer.

The Katrina Cottage concept has generated much attention since it was originally previewed at the International Builders’ Show in Orlando in January. The cottages pose some clear advantages over FEMA trailers:

• The homes are built to hurricane-resistance standards and can weather future storms. With their cement-plank siding and tightly, they can be placed in a flood plain, if necessary. “It can get wet,� Andres Duany told the Baton Rouge Advocate. “It has no sheetrock.�

• FEMA is spending about $75,000 to deliver and install each of the 23- to 28-foot trailers for storm victims, while a Katrina Cottage can be set up for under $60,000, according to manufacturers such as Home Front, Cavalier Homes, and Southern Energy Homes, Inc.

• Construction of the cottages would be fast, since the cottages can be either stick-built or built of panelized walls manufactured in an assembly-line fashion. Unlike FEMA trailers, Katrina Cottages are emergency structures with permanent value, real homes that can eventually be expanded if owners choose to do so.
My only criticism at this point is that if FEMA did adopt the current prototypes as the new "temporary" residence, the areas getting these cottages as permenent replacement for damaged/destroyed homes, neighborhoods could be transmormed into the proverbial "cookie-cutter" development and not a neighborhood. What is needed is variety. The way to get that is very simple. More architects need to get involved and come up with. More architects with even more ideas of what the Katrina Cottage could look like will give the storm victims more choices and neighborhoods more uniqueness.

Read more about Katrina Cottage II here.

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