Marianne Cusato

Speech Topics:
The Value of Design
Sustainability: Community, Home, Architecture, Materials
Affordable Housing
Get Your House Right
Is Small the New Big?
New Urbanism
Agricultural Urbanism
Gulf Coast Rebuilding
Katrina Cottage

Marianne Cusato, a thought leader in the fields of architectural and urban design, is known for her emphasis on building better—not bigger. She speaks on how good design impacts the quality of our lives and the sustainability of the earth's resources.

Ranked the No. 4 most influential person in the home building industry in Builder magazine's annual “Power on 50” list, Cusato and her design principles are changing the landscape of the housing industry.

Cusato is well-known for her work on the Katrina Cottages whose plans are now sold at Lowe's home centers nationwide. In 2006, her 308 s.f. Katrina Cottage won the Smithsonian Institute's Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum's “People's Design Award.” In June 2006, Congress appropriated $400 million for an alternative emergency housing program, based on the idea of the Katrina Cottage.

Cusato has also been honored with the American Society of Interior Designers “2007 ASID Design for Humanity Award” and the American Institute of Building Designers (AIBD) Florida Society “2007 Honor Award of Excellence.”

Cusato is also the author of two books: Get Your House Right, Architectural Elements to Use and Avoid, with Ben Pentreath, Richard Sammons and Leon Krier, foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales (January 2008, Sterling Publishing) and The Value of Design (February 2008, James Hardie).

She and her work have been featured in media that include The New York Times, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, Associated Press, Reuters, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Christian Science Monitor, Time magazine, Cottage Living, InStyle Home, Builder magazine, Architectural Record, CNN, CNBC, Marketplace Radio, WNYC's “The Leonard Lopate Show,” “The Montel Williams Show” and Farmers' Almanac TV.

Cusato frequently speaks about her design principles and how good design of the built environment can address societal and environmental issues such as aging populations, global warming, food supply and affordable housing. She has been a featured speaker at events such as The New Yorker Conference 2007, the 2006 Herman Miller National Convention, Lowe's 2006 Trends Day, and the 2007 Indiana Statewide Conference on Housing and Community Economic Development, Efficiency Vermont 2008 Better Buildings by Design Conference, 2008 ASID Awards, 2008 Hanley Wood Presidential Seminar, The 2008 Vine Conference and West Coast Green. She is a visiting assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame's School of Architecture.

Born and raised in Anchorage, Ala., Cusato is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame. Travels from Miami.

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