Johns Manville Joins with Andrés Duany to Build Bywater Cottages

Johns Manville has donated its Gorilla Wrap® housewrap to world-renowned architect and urbanist Andrés Duany’s Bywater Cottages, an urban restoration and infill project in the Bywater Neighborhood of New Orleans, which, because of its location on higher ground, escaped the worst devastation of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.

The Bywater cottages will be located on a formerly vacant lot at 3426-28 Dauphine Street in New Orleans and will be built by New Orleans-based Restoration Concepts. They will be financed and managed by Corner Markers/Bywater LLC, a company composed of Duany and business partners Diane Dorney and Martha Murphy. Designed to accommodate four families, the Bywater Cottages are built as “doubles”; i.e., two complete, back-to-back cottages per structure, with two independent dwelling units per lot.

“Gorilla Wrap is a great fit for the Bywater Cottages and other reconstruction efforts on the Gulf Coast,” said Steve Payne, market development manager for Johns Manville’s Engineered Products division. “In this climate, moisture doesn’t wait for a hurricane event to threaten the built environment. Gorilla Wrap housewrap guards against moisture infiltration by resisting water penetration while allowing the house to breathe.”

“The cottages certainly will perform better with Gorilla Wrap under the siding,” said Fred Murrell, principal with Restoration Concepts, the project’s general contractor. “Because it uses the latest in building science, this new housewrap delivers what it promises significantly better than the traditional methods and materials used in this region. And with high winds a very real danger, Gorilla Wrap is tough enough to withstand the harsh coastal environment before and after the siding goes on.”

Gorilla Wrap’s performance ratings add up to a housewrap that resists wind phenomenally well to increase energy efficiency, while resisting mold and mildew growth for structural integrity and improved indoor air quality.

According to Diane Dorney, Corner Markers/Bywater LLC is dedicated to designing sustainable, context-sensitive housing for the future. “We chose a lot in the Bywater Neighborhood because it’s the next up-and-coming New Orleans neighborhood and we wanted to show how newly built, hurricane-resistant houses could fit into a traditional setting. Ninety percent of Bywater’s architecture is gorgeous and historic; the Bywater Cottages harmonize with that centuries-old architecture, rather than making a statement for their own sake. At the same time, they provide crucial housing options for the citizens of New Orleans. It’s a much-needed combination.”

Designed by Duany and his firm, Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company in Miami, Fla., the Bywater Cottages are an extension of Duany’s original brainchild, dubbed the Katrina Cottages, which were conceived and designed for the Mississippi Renewal Forum in Biloxi, Miss., Oct. 2005. Katrina Cottages are small, permanent houses that are safe, affordable, quickly assembled and dignified alternatives to the FEMA emergency-housing trailers. Bywater Cottages incorporate those aspects of the Katrina Cottages, yet also are “seed” cottage designs to be built and sited on the land in such a fashion that they give families the option to add on to the homes over time.

“Incorporating an engineered housewrap like Gorilla Wrap into the Bywater Cottages is a major step forward in building systems technology,” said Duany. “It will let the cottages breathe far better than the moisture-barrier materials that were used on the historic homes in the neighborhood. And, because the material includes at least 20 percent recycled content, it contributes to LEED credits for builders in two LEED categories.”

Gorilla Wrap’s contributions to indoor air quality and LEED credits matter greatly to the Corner Markers/Bywater LLC partners. “One major goal for these cottages is to make them as environmentally friendly as possible, while beginning to rebuild the neighborhood,” added Dorney.

For Johns Manville, the project is a perfect fit with its corporate philosophy. “We like to be involved with efforts that improve homeowners’ quality of life and increase their options for living in homes they actually love,” said Payne. “The Bywater Cottages are a shining example of an appropriate approach to rebuilding in hurricane-prone areas, and we’re proud to support them by providing Gorilla Wrap housewrap, a crucial building component that will help the cottages withstand Louisiana’s humid climate — and future storms.”

About Johns Manville

Johns Manville, a Berkshire Hathaway company (NYSE: BRK.A, BRK.B), is a leading manufacturer and marketer of premium-quality building and specialty products. In business since 1858, the Denver-based company has annual sales in excess of $2 billion and holds leadership positions in all of the key markets that it serves. Johns Manville employs approximately 7,800 people and operates 41 manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe and China. For more information about Johns Manville and Gorilla Wrap housewrap, go to

About Corner Markers/Bywater LLC

Dedicated to designing sustainable, context-sensitive housing for the future, Corner Markers/Bywater LLC is a partnership among Andrés Duany; Diane Dorney, the editor and publisher of Town Paper Publications in Gaithersburg, Md.; and Martha Murphy, a resident of Pass Christian, Mississippi. Based in Gaithersburg, Md., the company works to design and build energy-efficient, durable housing for at-risk areas in Mississippi and Louisiana.

About Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company

Based in Miami, Fla., with regional offices in Gaithersburg, Md., and Charlotte, N.C., Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company (DPZ) is a major leader in the practice and direction of urban planning in the United States and overseas. The firm is led by its principals, Andrés Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, who are co-founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), recognized by the New York Times as “the most important collective architectural movement in the United States in the past fifty years.” In 2004, Builder Magazine recognized Duany among the 50 most influential people in home building.

DPZ has taken a leading role in the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Working with the Mississippi Governor’s Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal, and the Louisiana Recovery Authority, DPZ’s designers generated plans for rebuilding at the regional, local and neighborhood scales, as well as guidelines for individual homeowners looking to rebuild. For more information about DPZ, go to

Johns Manville Engineered Products Group Market Development Manager Steve Payne, 303-978-5301