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Sunday, November 28, 2010

British Military Huts and Sheds

Modern Rosh Ha'ayin is built on the site of the British RAF Ras el Ain military base. A number of distinctive-looking sheds still grace the city. Some are still in use for a variety of purposes, others are abandoned and some are ruined.

Starting with World War I, the British began using a variety of quickly-deployed military sheds. Chief among these were the Romney Hut and Nissen Hut. The US army adopted a similar style in their Quonset Huts. These structures made use of corrugated metal to form the hull of the building. The structures were poorly insulated, but provided quick shelter. Other designs developed for the home front, such as the Anderson Shelter (for a bomb shelter).

The aesthetic of the Rosh Ha'ayin buildings is similar to the other huts. However, the design is slightly more sophisticated. The metal only forms the roof, while the support walls are made of brick. Ridges at the top provide a small amount of lighting if properly oriented. I consulted with Paul Francis, author of British Military Airfield Architecture, but he did not recognize the form of the Rosh Ha'ayin buildings. It could be that they were the work of a local designer/architect and were only adopted here.

1 comment:

  1. The origin of the bricks might be an interesting lead to follow. They are not common in buildings in Israel. Although in Tel Aviv quite a few buildings were built of bricks in the first half of the 20th century, the bricks were usually hidden with plaster (the beautiful exceptions are a few buildings by architect Berlin). There was a brick factory near old city hall on Biyalik Street, but I'm not sure it was still running during the 1940's.