Artifex Cottages Earn 2022 Urban Guild Award

Artifex Cottages Earn 2022 Urban Guild Award

Photo of Flora Cottage in Cottage Square neighborhood of Ocean Springs, MS. Neoclassical white facade with four-columned porch.

Fans of Artifex Cottages' house plans will pleased to learn that Artifex has been honored with a 2022 Urban Guild Award for their Modular Cottage project. The award honors the longstanding push by Bruce Tolar and his Artifex partners to develop factory-engineered cottages that match the appeal and high design standards of custom homes. The latest chapter in that effort is the 2021 addition of a factory-built Flora Cottage to their Cottage Square project in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

The seeds of the project were first planted in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, when Bruce Tolar and like-minded architects participated in a series of design charrettes to assist Gulf Coast communities in their recovery efforts. As the recovery matured, Bruce and a group of collaborators launched an infill cottage neighborhood in Ocean Springs to model key ideas and embody lessons that can be applied to the broader American housing crisis.

The most hard-won of those lessons: how to integrate the language and practice of architectural design with the language and practice of factory-engineered housing.

An early proof-of-concept came in the form of federally funded, manufactured recovery housing, inspired by the Katrina Cottage designs. But the bulk orders that government funding made possible during hurricane recovery were unique. In everyday practice, factories were reluctant to alter their methodology to achieve the level of detailing necessary for designs to look and feel more like custom cottages than “mobile homes.” So began a multi-decade project to recruit manufacturing partners and develop a working method for achieving both cost-effective production and neighborly appeal.

In 2021, the latest iteration of that exploration — a 504-square-foot, one-bedroom Flora Cottage — was installed in the expanding Cottage Square neighborhood. The new cottage was built by Franklin Homes in a climate-controlled factory, then trucked to Cottage Square and installed on a site-built foundation with the help of a set crew and a crane.

Photo of a crane lifting a white, clapboard, shotgun-style cottage onto a pier foundation in early spring.With the right partners, getting from architectural design to engineered production to delivery and setting on site is becoming a more predictable process. That translates to greater potential for cost-effectiveness for homebuilders and more opportunity for Americans who want to live and work in a neighborhood that feels like home.

Liberty House Plans is pleased to offer house plans for the Flora Cottage and other designs by Artifex Cottages. If you would like to license their designs for a project of your own, we invite you to get in touch.

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