Quonsets & NissensSaturday, May 04, 2019
A Quonset hut /ˈkwɒnsɪt/ is a lightweight prefabricated structure of corrugated galvanized steel having a semicircular cross-section. The design was developed in the United States, based on the Nissen hut introduced by the British during World War I. Hundreds of thousands were produced during World War II and military surplus was sold to the public. The name comes from the site of their first manufacture at Quonset Point at the Davisville Naval Construction Battalion Center in Davisville, Rhode Island.
Before Malcolm Parry left Vancouver Magazine I proposed to him that we do a story about the Quonset huts in Vancouver. Being English he corrected me and told me that the British had developed them in WW I. The story never came to fruition.
Today I went to pick up some glass on East Hastings. Half a block away is a Quonset hut that I have seen there for years. I could not resist snapping a photograph. I wonder with the hundreds of thousands of them that were built during and after WW II if these buildings could not be adapted as temporary shelter for the Vancouver homeless or even be adapted as quick and affordable homes for the very low income inhabitants of our city
Incredibly there are at least a couple of companies in Canada that manufacture Quonsets and variations of them.