Nissen Huts

nissen huts
The use of Quonset arch steel buildings has increased recently, but few know about one of their precursors, Nissen Huts (sometimes mistakenly called Nissan Huts). Originally created for military use, these buildings evolved into Romney Huts then their final form, the Quonset Hut. We’ll look into what they were and a bit of their history.

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What are Nissen Huts?

nissen hut home Named after its designer Major Peter Norman Nissen, Nissen huts are prefabricated arch style metal buildings. They are straightforward to assemble and go up quickly. This made them very useful for military use, especially as barracks for soldiers. The semi cylindrical-shaped structure needs a frame to give the necessary rigidity it needs.

Brief History Of Nissen Huts

Major Peter Norman Nissen, an inventor, and designer who was a member of the 29th Company Royal Engineers of the British, designed the Nissen huts in WW I. The structure came with specific benefits associated with metal buildings, except unhindered space. Nevertheless, its construction time was the truly impressive characteristic, as it was recorded to be built in 1 hour and 27 minutes. Additionally, it wasn’t expensive. Reportedly $1300 was enough to make it, which is very low. The short construction time and low expenses made it the perfect choice for soldiers’ use, like storage, barracks, or temporary offices.

old nissen hut building However, the design was riddled with unfortunate problems that muddied its reputation. Many tried to revive it, but over time, it got replaced with a modern counterpart: Quonset huts. Nowadays, the old Nissen huts have been repurposed into sheds or agricultural infrastructure. The construction of newer ones is rare, but the grandson of Peter Norman Nissen is trying to revive the design by making them eco-friendly structures for gardens, homes, or office areas.

Construction Of Nissen Huts

These huts were made by assembling a frame for the interior out of withering wood or metal. It was then covered by metal sheets that were bolted on top. It is pretty different from the modern ones, which are not cylindrical.

Quonset Hut Replacements

quonset hut garage This type of building was a brilliant design, but as with most man-made items, they evolved. Over time they were superseded by Romney Huts, then the more modern; Quonset huts. Quonset huts could replace them because they are much easier to assemble, as they don’t require any interior frame.

Quonset Vs. Nissen, Which Is Superior?

Quonset huts are a modern replacement of Nissen huts, and there is a reason for that.

military quonset hut building Nissen huts were riddled with problems from its beginning. Sure, they were economical, easy to build, and just as easy to disassemble, but that didn’t hide the glaring problems. The cylindrical shape made it difficult to place any furniture. The space is not open and unhindered like it is in Quonset huts. On top of them, these structures were hot in warmer and humid climates and felt humid and stuffy. That made it quite challenging to live in these infrastructures, which decreased their popularity. They were repurposed for agricultural purposes, but they never regained their old fame.

On top of that, Nissen huts need an interior frame, but Quonset huts don’t. Because of this, Quonset huts are easier to build, as no additional work is required. So yes, Quonset huts are, in fact, superior to the Nissen hut.


Nissen huts are an affordable style of steel building. They are durable and are an eco-friendly option for your garden. However, keep in mind that the Quonset huts are superior, and there are many reasons for that. You can get all the benefits you would usually get from this former style of building and more from modern Quonsets. If it comes down to personal preference, you can get the Nissen huts, but if you want an expert’s advice, always go for Quonset huts. You will get more variety and ease of construction that way.

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