Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Revisiting the Old - Quonset Huts for the 21st century?

Quonset huts feel organic. Their shape is natural. They reveal structural honesty. They are volumetric and bold yet humble. With all the prefabricated housing that is making a comeback, why don't we see more Quonsets? They are an elegant response to a necessary building typology - shelter and design on a tight budget.

The French Modernist, Pierre Chareau designed Robert Motherwell's home and art studio in the Hamptons from prefabricated Quonset hut kits. The house was insensitively demolished in 1985, thus obliterating the only architectural work of Chareau's in the U.S. He is not well-known in America, partly due to Philip Johnson, the director of MoMA who vetoed his exhibit in 1950. Chareau began as a furniture maker, and his architectural design reflects this detailed craft. To learn more about this under-appreciated French architect:

Weekend Utopia: Modern Living in the Hamptons (Hardcover)
by Alastair Gordon

Will the Quonset be resurrected? There are books on the subject but the trend hasn't caught on... perhaps it will.

To find out more about Quonsets:

Quonset Bldg Blog

Quonset Hut: Metal Living For The Modern Age
by Chris Chiel (Author), Julie Decker

Quonset Huts on the River Styx

No comments: