Bruce B Tolar
"We believe that the idea of "home" implies more than what is bordered by room dimensions and lot lines. So while we are committed to individual house designs that achieve the highest levels of safety, livability and curb appeal, we want them to perform as building blocks for community, as well." Architect Bruce B. Tolar, P.A. is an architectural, planning and development firm headquartered on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. From our vantage point at the epicenter of coastal growth during the boom years of the 1980s and 1990s and of disaster recovery in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, we have learned the lessons of quality design from the individual parcel to the neighborhood to the broader community. Many of our techniques were refined during the go-go years of community development on the upper Gulf Coast from Northwest Florida to Louisiana. We learned how to integrate state-of-the-art custom home techniques with state-of-the-art planning for compact, walkable new towns. Those skills were, in turn, applied to the recovery and rebuilding process after Katrina. As partners on the team commissioned by the Mississippi Governor's Commission on recovery planning, we helped shape the Katrina Cottage movement, which proposed alternatives to FEMA trailers that could transition to permanent, storm-worthy homes in new or existing neighborhoods. We took on the role of developers for a model neighborhood of Katrina Cottage designs. That Ocean Springs, Mississippi neighborhood “Cottage Square“ exhibits 14 units in a two-acre cluster, mixing residential and commercial uses and seven design variations ranging from a 200-square-foot studio to a 1,300-square-foot, two story structure we currently use as our office. A winner of innovation awards from both the Congress for the New Urbanism and Cottage Living Magazine, Cottage Square is inspiring an expanding list of new cottage neighborhoods that utilize our designs and site plans, often in combination with design and development partners.