Backyard Quonset Hut Art Studio in California

David S. says he’s always loved Quonset huts. He first became familiar with the structures while living on a former World War II military base in Alaska that was purchased by his community. 

“They were obviously for strong functions, like handling the snow and so forth,” he said. “They usually held industrial equipment in them.”

However, his SteelMaster Quonset hut is used for a very different purpose–an art studio.

“My wife is a pretty experienced glassblower, she taught glass blowing in Japan before moving [to the U.S.],” David said. “I’m also a woodcarver, I worked in Alaska for many years and studied totemic art and worked with the community there producing totemic work like totem poles.” 

After David’s father–who was also an artist–passed away, he inherited everything in his art studio, leaving an even larger need to build a studio of his own.

“We had to be able to house quite a quantity of work.”

While researching modern arch steel structures, David came across SteelMaster’s website. 

“I researched online and your company seemed to be the one,” David said. “Once I found your company, I looked at examples of what other people were doing with [Quonset huts]. It just seemed like it was pretty complete.” 

David purchased a 33’W x 16’H x 59’L building and hired a local contracting team to help put the structure up.

“It went up pretty darn quick really. Once we got a few sections up, it went hand in hand.”

In true artist fashion, one of the things he loves the most about his Quonset hut is the aesthetics. 

“I had a choice of what design to do and I like the traditional [Q-Model design], which is like a rainbow. It’s such a neat shape,” he said. “Even though it’s an industrial shape it’s a very natural form, and that appeals to me more than models with the flatter sides. I’m sure they are functional in different ways, but that half-circle is really sweet.”

The couple worked with an architect that was a friend of the family to lay out what their needs were to create a functional and aesthetically pleasing studio. They decided to put the structure on a four-foot-tall stem wall for more ceiling height, which helps with ventilation. 

 “To make it unique for us, we have one office room and two workshops within the space that are insulated and the other area footage is open to the ceiling, and that’s where we have a glass blowing hot shop and my neon shop so it’s side by side.”  

Because the building has a hot shop, the building’s fire resistance was also a bonus. 

“Hot shop involves having a furnace that’s going 24/7 and you’re working with a pool of molten glass.”

David says visitors are impressed with how his Quonset hut art studio turned out. 

“They’re just kind of in awe really, they’re surprised. There aren’t a whole lot of steel arch structures in our area,” he said. “When they come in and see what we’ve done to both endwalls and all of a sudden it becomes super aesthetic and they realize we’re not storing a tractor in there.”

Overall, David is very happy with both his studio and experience working with SteelMaster. 

“It was great, I had no issues. Any questions I had were answered quickly. Everything came packaged just fine.”

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