The Quonset hut building and timeless design was developed out of necessity by the United States during World War II to house tropps and supplies.
In March of 1941, months before the attact on Pearl Harbor, the United States Navy knew its ability to mobilize and house of men and supplise would be severely strained in the event of war. Rear Admiral Ben Morell, Chief of the Navy's Burueau of Yards and Docks, set out to develop an improved version of a British portable structure called Nissen Hut, which was used in World War I.
Morell approached the George A. Fuller construction company to make a prefabricated lightweight shelter that could be easily shipped anywhere and quickly assembled by untrained troops in the field. Morell gave the order to Fuller on the contingency that the first structures had to be delivered within 60 days.
Engineers Perter Dejongh and Otto Brandenberger were set to work in the FUller production facility near Quonset Point, Rhode Island.
Within a month the first Quonset hut was ready. It was a half-tubular building measuring 36 feet long and 16 feet wide. The skin was crafted of ribbed galvanized steel sheating placed over a frame of lightweight steel arch ribs. It had insulation and a pressed wood interior. The Quonset hut could be assembled on a concrete foundation or, if need be, on a simple plywood floor. The wood ends had a door and two windows.
The huts indeed provided quick barracks for troops and cheap warehouse for weapons and material.
But it was soon apparent that
these were not just flimsy, temporary structures. All the components used to design Quonset huts worked in a perfect unison to produce incredible strength that could withstand the pounding of hurricanes. At the end of World War II the Quonset hut was not relegated to the scrap heap. The military sold them to the American public and the Quonset hut soon moved off the military house and into single-family neighborhoods.