Fighting for Better Designed Homes

Author: Ashley Johnston


Collapsed roofs lined the streets. Walls crumbled under water and mold. Months later, people were still homeless, and relief agencies quickly discovered they were desperately unprepared.

When something catastrophic happens, the damage goes beyond the physical. Communities are destroyed. Families face emotional and financial strain, and some never recover. Adjunct faculty memberMarianne Cusato ’94 knew these families needed something safer and more beautiful than the FEMA trailer. In 2006, she designed an emergency housing solution that came to be known as the Katrina Cottage and won accolades from design associations nationwide. She credits the Notre Dame School of Architecture for teaching her the foundations of classical architecture and for instilling in her a responsibility to improve communities and lives.

Now, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, she has partnered with Clayton Homes to design and manufacture housing that promises to provide shelter, independence and a sense of home. Today, over 3,000 families enjoy the warmth and comfort of Marianne’s vision.


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