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True North, a Quonset hut community, opens for residents

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Quonset huts are back in Detroit

Photos by Michelle & Chris Gerard

With the vast amount of land in Detroit, there’s room for innovative housing and development. True North, which has sprung up over the past year, is one of those truly unique ideas.

Last summer, we started hearing that a few Quonset huts were being built off of Grand River and 16th. We visited in the winter, as many started to rise. Since then, people from around the world have shown interest in this little community and now, they’re housing new residents.

Curbed recently toured the new community with developer Philip Kafka, as landscaping and final touches are underway. Some of the spaces will be dynamic and activated, while most will simply be residences. They’ve planted 30 trees and more wild grass and a clay court is yet to come. Of the residences, all seven are occupied or will be rented shortly. One of the huts will be rented out as an Airbnb, while the largest one (the tall one with the ladder) will have a gallery space and an apartment above it.

Kafka says that once the news broke of the development, they had over 150 inquiries about it. When people who haven’t seen it drive by, he says, they stop to look. He says he’s happy with how democratic the design is, and wanted a sensible development that’s good for everyone. Could there be more on the way? Possibly. For now, they’re learning from the building of this development and what could be improved in the future.

Here’s a tour around the new community, including some of the huts which will soon house residents.