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The Quonset hut is a type of building that most people would instantly recognize if they saw it. It consists of a trademark circular arch design and is made from corrugated galvanized steel. The building itself is named for the first place it was manufactured, which was Quonset Point, Rhode Island in the United States. The Quonset hut has an interesting history that stretches back to the 1940’s.

In the Beginning

The reason that the Quonset hut came about at all was because of World War II. The US Navy wanted a lightweight building that they could ship almost anywhere and could be assembled by just about anyone. In 1941, the Quonset hut was developed and was used throughout the duration of the war. Its design was supposedly modeled after another hut called the Nissen hut that the British used in World War I.

The most common Quonset hut measured 48 ft x 20 ft and enable over 700 square feet of usable space on the floor alone. These metal buildings were used for all manner of operations, including barracks, medical offices, isolation units, housing, offices or latrines. The fact that construction didn’t require any skilled labor meant that they could be put up and taken down quickly and without too many resources.


After the war, the excess Quonset huts that were left over were sold by the military to members of the general public. Naturally, they were used for all sorts of different uses, from private outbuildings to warehouses to farm buildings to businesses. Over time, commercial companies began manufacturing metal buildings and the Quonset hut took on new popularity around the world.

Present Day Quonset

Today, the Quonset hut is manufactured by many different companies for several different purposes (Example: The Steel Building Co). The leftover war buildings are likely all gone, but you can purchase a Quonset hut brand new that comes as part of a kit consisting of pre-engineered pieces.

People use these types of metal buildings for backyard garages, storage facilities, workshops and farm buildings. Modern day Quonset huts are strong and able to resist severe weather and fire, which makes them quite desirable when compared to buildings featuring traditional construction. It is in their design to last long. Metal buildings have even moved away from the traditional Quonset hut design to include more linear designs. These work well for businesses, factories, office buildings and even residential houses.

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Troy Adams is a devoted writer who has a passion for Business and Marketing. Keep your eyes posted for more of Troy’s blogs!