Katrina Kernel Cottage II

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After Katrina - The Cottage Comeback

The Katrina Kernal Cottage II by Steve Mouzon
Why is it called Kernel? The Katrina Kernal Cottage II by Steve Mouzon. Photo © 2006 Jackie Craven

After a devastating storm, a new solution for affordable housing

After Hurricane Katrina destroyed homes and communities along America's Gulf Coast in 2005, architects and designers developed cheerful, affordable, energy-efficient emergency housing known as "Katrina Cottages." Today these designs are sometimes called "Mississippi Cottages." First generation cottages were well-received at the 2006 International Builders Show, but architect Steve Mouzon had a better idea. This gallery of photos shows the second generation Katrina Cottage, an expandable version designed by Mouzon Design. Like the original, Mouzon's "Katrina Kernel Cottage II" is constructed with decay-resistant steel framing and steel-reinforced wall board. Select a pictures for larger views and more information, or click through the slide show.

After a devastating storm, an attractive solution for affordable housing...

The Katrina Kernel Cottage II by Steve Mouzon resembles a traditional "Shotgun" style house. The house consists of a single long room. From the front door, you can see straight back to the rear of the house. At the far rear are doors leading to a bathroom and a walk-in closet.

View floor plan at Mouzon Design.

"Early Katrina Cottages didn't allow expansion very easily," declares Mouzon Design, "because exterior walls were so quickly used up for kitchen cabinets, bathrooms, closets, and the like. This was the first Katrina Cottage designed explicitly to grow easily." This is why it's called "kernel," like seed corn.

View an expanded floor plan at the Original Green website of The Guild Foundation.

Source: Kernel Cottages, Mouzon Design [accessed August 11, 2014]

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Front Porch of Katrina Cottage

The Katrina Kernal Cottage II by Steve Mouzon
Classical Look The Katrina Kernal Cottage II by Steve Mouzon. Photo © 2006 Jackie Craven

An award-winning design for affordable housing...

The front porch with columns and gables bring a Greek Revival flavor to the simple, Shotgun Style Katrina Kernel Cottage II. The porch decking is made with decay-resistant trim boards made from recycled plastics.

This design, the second generation Katrina Cottage VIII, received the 2007 Charter Award by the Congress for the New Urbanism.

Why is it called a Kernel Cottage?

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A Lovable Porch Railing

Traditional Patterns
Architectural Detail and Design The Katrina Kernel Cottage II by Steve Mouzon - Porch Railing. Photo © 2006 Jackie Craven

Architect Steve Mouzon borrowed a traditional pattern when he designed the porch railings for the Katrina Kernel Cottage II. Attention to architectural detail seems like a small thing, but even a balustrade can turn an ordinary functional element into a thing of beauty.

Mouzon is a proponent of "common-sense, plain-spoken sustainability," or what he calls Original Green. Green architecture and good design are not new concepts. Before the heating and cooling systems of what Mouzon calls the "Thermostat Age," builders created sustainable structures through design—without today's "gizmos." A simple front porch extends the living area to the outside; a pretty railing makes the structure lovable.

Durability is also part of sustainable design. The exterior siding of this Kernel Cottage is Cementitious Hardiboard, which resembles wood but provides the fire- and water-resistance of concrete.

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Front Gable and Doric Columns

Doric Columns
Prefabricated Classical Design Katrina Kernel Cottage II by Steve Mouzon - Front Gable. Photo © 2006 Jackie Craven

Doric style columns bring old-fashioned charm to this version of the low-cost Katrina Cottage. The house is constructed from factory-made panels and can be assembled in two days.

After Hurricane Katrina devastated America's Gulf Coast in 2005, Steve and Wanda Mouzon, Andrés Duany, and others created and self-funded what has been called the Katrina Cottages movement. The original goal was to design an emergency shelter that was more beautiful, dignified, and sustainable than a FEMA trailer. Building dignified shelters for people in crisis was not a new idea—in fact, architects like Shigeru Ban had been doing it a decade earlier. The New Urbanist approach, however, was a growing movement in the U.S.

The second generation Katrina Cottages designed by Steve and Wanda Mouzon "are meant not only to be smaller and more charming, but also smarter...much smarter."

View floorplan at Mouzon Design.

Sources: The Katrina Cottages Collection and Gulf Coast Emergency House Plans, Mouzon Design website [accessed August 11, 2014]

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Katrina Cottage Fan

Porch Fan
Breezy Porch Katrina Kernel Cottage II by Steve Mouzon. Photo © 2006 Jackie Craven

The front porch of this Katrina Cottage extends the living area of a small home.

An inexpensive ceiling fan from a big-box store like Home Depot brings cooling breezes to the front porch of the Katrina Kernel Cottage II. Designed by architect Steve Mouzon, this Fairfax model is only 523 square feet, so the porch provides valuable living space.

View floor plan at Mouzon Design.

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Roof Shelters Air Space

Fire-Proof Construction
Design Keeps the Kernel Cool The Katrina Kernel Cottage II by Steve Mouzon - Steel Roof. Photo © 2006 Jackie Craven

This Katrina Kernel Cottage model is constructed with light gauge steel for the roof, flooring, and studs. Steel resists fire, termites, and decay. Building materials should be chosen based on site location.

Why not save more money with a flat roof? The real reason for an attic is not for storing your Christmas decorations. Capturing and allowing hot air to circulate above and separate from the living area is a design decision for natural cooling living space—especially useful in southern climates to lessen air conditioning requirements.

Air vents can be seen in this photo of Steve Mouzon's Katrina Cottage design model.

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Compact Kitchen

Space-efficient Design
Corner Spaces are Spared Katrina Kernel Cottage II by Steve Mouzon - Kitchen. Photo © 2006 Jackie Craven

The living area of this Katrina Cottage has a compact kitchen along one wall. All the appliances are cost-saving "Energy Star" compliant. But sustainable, green design is much more than providing the right appliances.

" The program's original cottage designs had one deficiency in common: they did not expand easily because, as the designs became smaller, more exterior wall space was used for cabinets, bathrooms, closets, etc., preventing expansion. This is the first cottage in the program designed to be highly expandable. Because they are obviously expandable to the casual observer, more customers are likely to buy them, rather than starting with a much larger house."

"Grow Zones" are built into the design. View the floor plan at Mouzon Design.

Source: Expandability, Congress for the New Urbanism website at www.cnu.org/resources/projects/katrina-cottage-viii-2007 [accessed August 11, 2014]

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Murphy Bed Area

Flexible Sleeping Area
Bedside Grow Zones Katrina Kernel Cottage II by Steve Mouzon - Murphy Bed. Photo © 2006 Jackie Craven

The living area of this Katrina Cottage has no interior walls. Instead, square pillars and long curtains frame a space used for sleeping. The Murphy Bed can be folded up against the wall during the day. The flooring is natural bamboo. Grow zones are on each side of the bed alcove.

" Each corner of the main room contains a "grow zone" with two openings. Grow zones are used either for circulation or for things like the Home Office which are furnished with movable furniture, not fixed cabinetry. This means that at whatever point the homeowner wants to expand, they can move the furniture out and do so. Windows can be converted to doors simply by removing the window and the wall below the window...the header above is already in place. This ability to sprout additions in several directions is why these Katrina Cottages were dubbed "Kernel Cottages."

View floor plan at Mouzon Design. View an extension of the floor plan at the Original Green website of The Guild Foundation.

See another view of the Katrina Kernel Cottage.

Source: Kernel Cottages, Mouzon Design [accessed August 11, 2014]

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Pedestal Sink Design

Space Saving Design
Saving Valuable Space Katrina Kernel Cottage II by Steve Mouzon - Pedestal Sink. Photo © 2006 Jackie Craven

A pedestal sink in the bathroom saves space and suggests old-fashioned charm.

" Beyond the obvious savings in building materials, there's a huge, three-pronged sustainability bonus that comes from building much smaller to begin with, then adding on later: First, because the square footage is a lot less, it costs much less to condition. Second, because rooms in tiny cottages are likely to have windows on both sides, they cross-ventilate wonderfully in summer, and also daylight beautifully. This saves even more in conditioning expense. Finally, if the designer really does their job and the cottage lives much larger than its footage, people might just discover that they don’t need to add such a big addition when it comes time to expand."—Architect Steve Mouzon

View floor plan at Mouzon Design.

See another view of the Katrina Kernel Cottage.

Source: 6 - the Many Uses, Original Green, The Guild Foundation [accessed August 12, 2014]

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Tiled Bathroom

Quality Details
Durability and Lovability Katrina Kernel Cottage II by Steve Mouzon - Tiled Bathroom. Photo © 2006 Jackie Craven

Although designed for a tight budget, quality materials are used to construct the Katrina Kernel Cottage II. Floor to ceiling tile in the bathroom bring a sense of luxury. Tile is also more durable than less expensive plastics.

" This cottage addresses several affordability issues: because it is designed to be beautiful (instead of simply cheap) it is likely to be accepted in neighborhoods where affordable housing has never been welcome before. Because it can be manufactured and shipped, it can be produced in locations with low labor costs and shipped to places where the cost of housing is high. Because of numerous design techniques (innovative storage, etc) it lives much larger than its 523 square feet. So while, at an estimated production-line retail price of $90,000, it is over $170/square foot, that is only slightly more than the FEMA trailers the original cottages in the program were meant to replace, and that buys a cottage that lives as big as houses twice as large."

View floor plan at Mouzon Design.

View an expanded floor plan at the Original Green website of The Guild Foundation.

See another view of the Katrina Kernel Cottage.

Source: Affordability, Katrina Cottage VIII, Congress for the New Urbanism website at www.cnu.org/resources/projects/katrina-cottage-viii-2007 [accessed August 11, 2014]