Architectural Design

Architectural Design

The Arch: One of the Most Influential Forms in Architectural History

From the Arch of Augustus in Italy, the Arc of de Triomphe in Paris or the Colosseum in Rome, the arch has proven to be one of the most influential architectural forms in history. For thousands of years, builders have used different types of arches in architecture to create some of the most spectacular structures on earth. Now SteelMaster’s modern arch panel system is being used by designers to create structures that are just as aesthetically pleasing and timeless.

Curved-style buildings have been changing the landscape of areas all around the globe. Architects have been utilizing the inherent advantages of barrel vaults, exposed architecture, archways, segmental arches, curved beams, tudor arches, and Quonset Huts themselves to enhance the utility and looks of their designs.

The first to take full advantage of the arch were the Romans. During this time, builders constructed buildings based more on the vernacular architecture of the era. Roman building design relied on tradition and community knowledge rather than on the skills of one particular specialist.

Many structures that were based on vernacular architecture in other cultures were created with materials that could not survive long periods of time, but the Romans created most of their buildings from concrete. They combined mortar with aggregate like brick to make the concrete that created the buildings that have stood for thousands of years.

Another building material that’s proven to survive the test of time is steel. SteelMaster’s high quality, prefabricated buildings have been used by architects to create some of the most magnificent designs in the industry. Modern steel building architecture that uses the classic arch design makes current buildings both beautiful and structurally sound. Further, adding an arch to a building can be a great way to add a unique element to an otherwise traditional design.

Why we landed on the SteelMaster product is really about its aesthetics, in the sense that we can get a softer shape that we felt is appropriate for that landscape.
Tommy Suchart, Architect, Chen + Suchart Studio
Your Guide to Architectural Excellence in Quonset Hut Design

Your Guide to Architectural Excellence in Quonset Hut Design

In this product guide we’ll show you:

  • The features and benefits of using Quonset huts in Architectural Design
  • Sample projects
  • Step-by-step arch construction
  • Technical specs & certifications

The structures that would easily be deemed examples of good architectural design include the Arc House in New York designed by Maziar Behrooz, arch-style steel structures designed by famous architect Michael Graves, and a host of other buildings that have changed the landscape of modern architecture.

There are several theories that dictate exactly what earns a building the stamp of approval from the architectural world. One of these theories is called the Seven Lamps of Architecture. It was created by art critic and theorist John Ruskin. He determined seven different qualifiers that represent the demands that defined good architectural design. The Seven Lamps of Architecture theory uses sacrifice, truth, power, beauty, life, memory and obedience to determine which structures are worthy to be placed in the “good architecture” category.

Ruskin was born in London in 1819 into a wealthy family. He often took trips to Venice for the summer, and it was here where he discovered his love of beautiful architecture. After visiting a place where citizens took the time to put effort into making things beautiful, he dreaded having to return to the dark and unattractive structures of his hometown that reflected the poor economic condition of the time.

Ruskin talked quite a bit about truth related to art theory. He believed that builders should be true to the material they were using and that things should be beautiful. He was one of the theorists of the time that truly valued building aesthetics.

rendering of quonset hut home

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Q-Model cabin with custom stone front end wall and wooden porch
I definitely handle everything in an architectural fashion. What I saw from SteelMaster is that they’ll understand me as a designer. That’s why I’ve stuck with SteelMaster.
Vern Sneed, Architect, Design Horizons

This theory has been demonstrated through some of the modern Quonset Hut designs of today. Architects have used steel in conjunction with other building materials to create curved roof structures that have wowed onlookers and other designers. Using mixed materials allows them the ability to create a building that showcases the aesthetics of architecture while also ensuring the building is strong enough to endure just about anything.


SteelMaster’s curved panel system allows modern architects the ability to create functional architecture. These structural forms are not only useful, they are also aesthetically pleasing buildings. Classic Quonset Huts were used by the military during WWII for soldiers who needed quick, easy-to-build shelters that could be transported to other locations. They were also used as agricultural buildings and industrial construction. Over the years, SteelMaster has taken this design and opened up the endless possibilities to designers who wish to create award-winning structures that will redefine modern architecture.

Another school of thought was created by Vitruvius Pollio, who also believed in the beauty of things, but he also thought that they should be functional. He asserted that there were three principles of good architecture that included durability, utility and beauty.

We have been in love with Quonset Huts forever. We both love how structurally efficient they are and we love the shape, we just think they’re beautiful buildings.
Kara Hill, Architect, Kara Hill Studio

Vitruvius judged structures based on their ability to survive through time. When he looked at a structure, he asked if it serves a functional purpose and how appealing is it to the human eye. Architecture, to him, was about the entire building, not just one aspect of it.

Both modern and traditional semicircular arch construction allows architects to meet the criteria from both theories. Even the simplest SteelMaster design easily meets these demands. Our modernized curved panel system takes the classic style of a structure that was created for the Military, and now it is being used in a variety of creative ways by some of the world’s most talented architects.