Roots of Style: The Segmental Vault Home

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 4.41.18 PMDistinctive and proud, these houses may be more common than you might first realize

Don’t dismiss segmental vault houses as just Quonset huts or airplane hangars. The Quonset hut, developed and used during World War I and II, is a long half-circle of corrugated tin with a lightweight metal structure. Airplane hangars are considerably larger. These houses are different from the primitive wartime huts and deserve attention as a style for several reasons. First, Virginia Savage McAlester designates them as their own class of 21st-century modern style in the revised 2013 edition of her book, A Field Guide to American Houses. Second, many segmental vault houses can be found around California, including in Palm Springs. Lastly, these houses have a distinct character, derived from the arched roof shape, that clearly sets them apart from other contemporary structures.

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