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Renowned for her work on innovative housing solutions for disaster recovery and workforce housing, Marianne Cusato is the partner in charge of design and development at Cypress Community Development Corp.


In addition to her work with Cypress CDC, Marianne is a Professor of Practice at the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture and Director of the School's Housing and Community Regeneration Initiative, a “Think-and-Do Tank” that provides assistance to municipalities and nonprofit organizations to improve economic development by reimagining the built environment. This work targets immediate local impact as well as national and global influence through projects, research, and education.


Marianne has been ranked the No. 4 most influential person in the home building industry by Builder Magazine, voted one of the 30 Most Influential Women in the Housing Economy by HousingWire Magazine and selected by Fortune Magazine as one of the Top Women in Real Estate. Her 308 sq. ft. Katrina Cottage design won the Smithsonian Institute’s Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum’s 2006 "People's Design Award."  That same year, Congress appropriated $400 million for an alternative emergency housing program based on Marianne’s designs.

Marianne and her work are featured often in the media including The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, Associated Press, Reuters, Forbes, Time magazine, The Week, InStyle Home, Fitness Magazine, Builder magazine, Architectural Record, ABC News, CNN, CNBC and NPR.

The author of two books: The Just Right Home: Buying, Renting, Moving...or Just Dreaming--Find Your Perfect Match! with Daniel DiClerico (April 2013, Workman Publishing) and Get Your House Right, Architectural Elements to Use and Avoid, with Ben Pentreath, Richard Sammons and Leon Krier, foreword by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales (January 2008, Sterling Publishing), she has been a contributor to Fortune Magazine and wrote a regular column and feature articles for Fine Homebuilding Magazine.

Marianne holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture and MBA from the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza School of Business.


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