Homeless Solution for Mr. Carson - real 'mericans did it!

Philips Head


Feb 10, 20 3:21 pm

'mericans is such a tired pejorative.  time to move on (dot ORG) !

Feb 10, 20 3:29 pm

Don't you mean Mr. Carlson?

Feb 10, 20 4:01 pm


oh wait....just say no to seacans

Feb 10, 20 4:21 pm
Non Sequitur

I've done one project (reluctantly...long story) with seacans. Never again.


I have a very similar story.....never ever again

Chad Miller

My studios where in quonset huts.  

Feb 10, 20 4:32 pm

It was dumb then and it is dumb now. fucking moron.

Feb 10, 20 9:44 pm
Philips Head

takes a lot of click bait to get people to read history....bruh what's up with the selective censorship?

All censorship is selective.

Philips Head

I thinks its 1)spam, 2)self-promotion, 3)offensive, 4) he drunk....doesn't seem consistent though.


This is all military construction, which is implicitly temporary so the base can be more easily reconfigured on demand. I don't think the suggestion that housing for homeless should be temporary or based on temporary construction is appropriate. Secondly, because this is cheap and fast construction, they're not the greatest dwellings to maintain. 

Using it as a precedent suggests that those persons can be displaced at any time, thus recreating the problem- OR that they only deserve substandard housing- which is not the case.

Feb 12, 20 10:57 am
Philips Head

Using it as a precedent suggests that those persons can be displaced at any time, thus recreating the problem

- I would argue this ultimately already happens but at a slow enough pace you do not notice.

Also, between seasonal work and inherent nomad like behavior, not owning property (capital) would ultimately render one homeless, so perhaps temporary housing for persons of that type  would indeed be a solution such as this.

liberty bell

I’m actually working on a Quonset hut house today. For myself! Husband and I visited True North Detroit ( or is it Real North? Google it) and he fell in love with the idea of living in a Quonset. 

Feb 15, 20 10:08 am
Wood Guy

While I'm intrigued by their simplicity, they are all high-carbon--steel, concrete and closed cell foam, so I can't get behind them. But if you're interested, this is a good FB group--the administrator has been a guest on the EntreArchitect podcast and he's an engaging guy:

Wood Guy

N/M, I just searched the group and see that you're already a member ;-)

liberty bell

Yep, thanks for the recommendation tho! Funny to me is that the admin of that group started in Indiana and is now building his Q home in Arizona, the inverse of me.

Philips Head

Wood Guy, this is a boat's ship hull upside down (quonset hut?)

Image result for ship hulls wood

Feb 15, 20 8:10 pm
Wood Guy

That's my kind of Quonset hut! Good find. There are some nice designs for wood-framed greenhouses and high tunnels, though I have seen more of them fail than the steel-framed version. 

Your image reminds me of cruck-framed huts of yore...

I just realized that's not really a cruck frame, but close enough.

Philips Head

cruck frame, just learned something.

Wouldn't be too much of stretch to have the frames be


the anchors by Simpson Strong Ties,

and the plywood curved.

Too minimize carbon foot print would have to work on the foundation and slab. you could go with maybe

Sonotube foundations (uplift would be only concern).

My engineer is looking at hemp boardfor his own private house, wondering if that can be curved as well?

[the four products I've linked are all readily available and we have used them in many projects]

Wood Guy

A company near me is building Quonset-style homes using glulams and stress-skin panels. Still not exactly low carbon and I have some other concerns about their system, but it's an option.

Here's a reduced-concrete slab system I used on one project:

My next Fine Homebuilding article will show my system for building on helical metal piers--have you seen those?

Philips Head

nice use of EPS...and it's def. strong material, just used it in a Freezer detail for a food production facility, the PSI is high, def. enough for a house....just found this for the Sonotube - Tube Base

Awesome resources, Wood Guy and Philipp, thank you for this!

Philips Head

Had a client do our sonotube foundations only instead of a real foundation, no full excavation, shoring etc...that would avoid the entire slab flooring bit as well. You could pretty much do this with a post digger and some sonotube forms (low budget).


I like the idea of helical piers.


Wood Guy, I like the limited slab? system, it appears from the diagram there isn't a slab? It seems labor intensive as well. I imagine that this would work in a basement/slab condition?

Philips Head

quick question, watching HGTV 100 day thing, appears in Florida you just drop a slab on gravel, and if you're familiar with Superior Walls they just drop pre-fab concrete on 2' of gravel (the NorthEast builders and I are suspicious)....

but to Beta's point, what if we just did Sonotube piers tied to a slab, has this been done?(in cold weather frost line places, NJ switches from 42" to 36" to 30" depending where you are at)

It's literally piles and slab right, just at a hand scale. Sonotube, rebar bent down into piles, etc...


You'd have to take care of the punch-through too, no? Thicken the slab at the pile locations?

Philips Head

flip the Tube base?

Wood Guy

B3, yes that's the idea. I still design concrete slab-on-grade homes for the lowest cost route to high performance, but for clients who insist on wood floors, the concrete does not do much. I was not involved through construction but the owner/builder said it went pretty smoothly.

There may be extra labor in the grade beam but it's not that different from how I do regular slabs on grade, or raised slabs.

My inspiration was from a few friends: Andy Engel wrote about a similar system for basements way back in 2005:

Steve Demetrick used a similar detail, also inspired by Engel's piece: (The architect, Steve Baczek, is an awesome guy but I have it on good authority that Demetrick came up with the floor system.)

Finally, my project was a prototype--a builder I know in MN is building his own version, also with input from Baczek: His project was recently featured on GBA:

Wood Guy

Phillip, I am very familiar with sonotubes--I've probably filled a hundred of them myself, sometimes with a flared base--Bigfoot was the original brand but Sonotube now has their square ones you linked to. When digging individual piers it's easier to use the round bases, but the square ones come in slightly larger sizes which can be important when the soil bearing capacity is low and the gravity loads are high. 

In any case, once you've used helical metal piers you will see how much more efficient they are to install than concrete footings. Plus they're lower carbon. They just keep drilling them deeper until they meet the required bearing capacity. They are super affordable, usually around $300/pier, installed--much less than forming and pouring your own, or using pre-cast concrete piers.

Wood Guy

The brand I use, Techno Metal Post, has details for supporting thickened-edge slabs. They are often used to support failing foundations of all types. They have engineers on staff who can help you find the right details for your project. (I know I sound like a salesman and I wish I had a stake in the company, because it's a great product.)

Block this user

Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: