Move out of the way shipping containers… there’s a new kid on the block: airplane fuselages.

New York’s urban architect recyclers, LOT-EK, have recently designed a library in Guadalajara made entirely of refurbished airplane fuselages. Apparently when airplanes are put to rest, most of their parts are easily recycled. However, according to Noticias Arquitectura, the fuselages are the only parts that are rarely reused, because “the cost of its demolition exceeds the profit of aluminum resale.” Because of this, there are a ton of discarded fuselages strewn all over deserts of the western states. Boeing 727 and 737 are the best-selling commercial planes and therefore the most common fuselage types in these graveyards. The fuselages are sold completely stripped, and at a ridicously cheap price – lending themselves to a great building material.

Naturally, someone was bound to find a use for these discarded structures, and its no surprise that LOT-EK was first to forage.

“The fuselage becomes the basic module of this building. It is insulated and furnished according to the program. The internal subdivision generated by the existing floor joists is used to respond to functional needs: the upper section is used for inhabitation while the lower one houses independent and interconnected mechanical systems: HVAC, electrical, cabling, and a conveyor belts network for the mechanical distribution of the books.”

Via BLDGBLOG via Noticias Arquitectura (Thanks Geoff!)


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  1. actos ambien best sleep... September 8, 2010 at 10:10 am

    The best site!

  2. Inhabitat » RECYC... May 30, 2007 at 10:21 am

    […] year we wrote about Lot-ek’s recycled airplane fuselage library and got a ton of interest from people who appreciated the architects’ creative reuse of old […]

  3. Inhabitat » POSTO... May 29, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    […] We have an amazing line up of speakers that includes Lebbeus Woods, Mark Wigley, Ada Tolla & Giuseppe Lignano of LOT-EK, Michael Sorkin & Mitchell Joachim, Michael Bierut and William Drenttel, among others. In […]

  4. Inhabitat » POSTO... May 27, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    […] We have an amazing line up of speakers that includes Lebbeus Woods, Mark Wigley, Ada Tolla & Giuseppe Lignano of LOT-EK, Michael Sorkin & Mitchell Joachim, Michael Bierut and William Drenttel, among others. In […]

  5. Offbeat Homes » r... April 16, 2007 at 1:47 am

    […] Inhabitat is helping me continue my love for cargotecture. LOT-ek helps you realize the beauty in re-use. […]

  6. Inhabitat » PREFA... April 13, 2007 at 6:36 am

    […] first gained our attention with their recycled airplane fuselage library that generated a lot of excitement on Inhabitat back in 2006. However the Lot-ek office – led by the fabulously dynamic architecture duo of Ada Tolla and […]

  7. sheetal August 3, 2006 at 12:00 pm

    I m editorial coordinator of the magazine”Indian Architect & Builder”
    need to know the architect Lot-ek ‘s contact number to keep my database updated.

  8. Isaak’s Thoughts ... May 13, 2006 at 10:43 am

    […] Recycled Airplane LibraryWith Earth Day just over, here’s something about recycling. An architecture firm, who specialises in the use of recycled materials in their designs, has decided to use discarded airplane fuselages to build a library in Guadalajara, a Mexican city. LOT-EK designed the New Jalisco Library with the discarded fuselages from Boeing 727s and 737s. Quite an innovative design and use of materials I might add.(via Digg) […]

  9. Jack H May 5, 2006 at 11:40 pm

    “Move out of the way shipping containers”…..I don’t think so. There are 10,000 shipping containers for each fuselage….and square is a lot easier than round!

  10. QUEERCONSTRUCTION &raqu... May 1, 2006 at 9:15 am

    […] Thanks to Jill at Inhabitat (now on WordPress no less) for showcasing such a cool idea for a building. […]

  11. todellakin April 27, 2006 at 10:12 am

    queerconstruction: since unfortunately the website is in flash, i cannot post the direct link to the winners of the competition, so i will try to explain how to get to the pictures: then click on “NUEVA BIBLIOTECA…” and you get a new window
    there, in the second options bar (youll see “BOLETIN DE PRENSA” in red) click on “GANADOR”
    then under is another menu, click on “GALERIA DE IMAGENES” and you will get them :)

    the winning entry was by architects Grinberg and Topelson. and their proposal (though not as revolutionary as LOT-Ek’s) seems a little bit promising, though nothing extraordinary.

  12. Criterion :: Diseo gr... April 25, 2006 at 8:21 am

    […] LOT-EK es un grupo de diseo arquitectnico de Nueva York que emplea elementos usados y los recicla para nuevas construcciones. En este caso, han ideado el diseo de una nueva biblioteca en Guadalajara, Mxico, partiendo de fuselajes de aviones Boeing. Extravagante sin duda. Podis ver ms info del tema y ms imgenes en este post en Inhabitant. […]

  13. queerconsturction April 25, 2006 at 7:01 am

    todellakin; the link to the winning design seems to have no pics of what the biblioteque will look like.
    Nice piece , Jill,

  14. queerconsturction April 25, 2006 at 6:57 am

    Hard to know how the building would really work in context as no context is given. But as a set of drawings, as an idea, its fab.

  15. Eugene F April 24, 2006 at 3:44 pm

    Thats a really cool idea, I will b e very interisted in seeing this upclose when and if it really happens. :)

  16. ha April 24, 2006 at 10:27 am


    Just because the rotting hulks are cheap, doesn’t mean that making a usable building out of them…let alone a claustrophobic library is a good idea…or even cheap…the retrofit cost would be outrageous.

  17. Canuckada April 23, 2006 at 6:49 pm

    Curiosity kills the cat – anyone have any ideas about contacting the company(ies) that sell said fuselages? Thanks for any input. Cheers!

  18. dan April 23, 2006 at 3:24 pm

    how about a fuseabago?

  19. todellakin April 23, 2006 at 10:12 am

    im happy to say that this project didnt win the contest –
    for winners and other info on the competition — (in spanish)

  20. todellakin April 23, 2006 at 10:01 am

    i agree with nogg3r5, the idea of reusing those planes is good, but also, for a library? isnt there better uses that fit more to the size and proportion of the airplane space? and also, i wonder how HUGE the structure supporting those airplanes has to be = more cost than a “normal” library building, without mentioning the TRANSPORTATION of all those old useless airplanes to Guadalajara. why is it that all the garbage is always thrown away in Mexico??

    i think LOT-EK just want to be pioneers and say that they are so cool that they reused airplanes, when in reality it demands much more resources.

  21. Mech(Acft Class) April 23, 2006 at 9:31 am

    I work on aircraft for a living and they tend to allow water to leak into them when unpressurised. This has much to to with the fact that they are built to slightly bend in response to turbulence. Most of this leaking occurs arount the rivets that hold the skin on and the structure together. As such, the engineers will definitely have some work on their hands trying to seal thousands of rivets per aircraft. This could translate to millions of rivets for the entire project adding to the overall cost. I love the idea though and wish they would build it in my town.

  22. doc April 23, 2006 at 8:10 am

    very very slick, very very blade runner. im in.

  23. Just Another Tech Blog ... April 23, 2006 at 12:59 am

    […] read more | digg story […]

  24. bonzole April 22, 2006 at 8:02 pm

    > Why is it that stuff made out of garbage is so appealing?

  25. Daniel Belanger Online ... April 22, 2006 at 7:30 pm

    […] New Yorks urban architect recyclers, LOT-EK, have recently designed a library in Guadalajara made entirely of refurbished airplane fuselages. Read More […]

  26. Travis PHX-AZ April 22, 2006 at 7:13 pm

    Better idea… Use four fueslages –> house

    1. Cut longitudinally bisecting vertically
    2. connect four ‘halves’ together to create more spacious tube structure
    3. turn the now 2x widder 737 fueselage/tube on its end (vertically oriented)
    4. bury 1/3 underground and have rest sticking straight up (door should be just above ground)
    5. finish exterior with more usable door + roof on top
    6. on interior, create spiraling staircase from door going up / down…
    7. on interior, separate into 5 floors (1 basement, 4 up)
    8. add finishing touches and furnishings

    Whola, you have a house

  27. » Architects usin... April 22, 2006 at 5:48 pm

    […] New Yorkâ??s urban architect recyclers, LOT-EK, have recently designed a library in Guadalajara made entirely of refurbished airplane more | digg story              […]

  28. LOT-EK’s Airplane... April 22, 2006 at 4:52 pm

    […] (via Cool Hunting and Inhabitat) […]

  29. airwebster April 22, 2006 at 4:19 pm

    we certainly like this idea, could help some of our members keep costs down while expanding their airport presence.. eye catching, relevant, kitchy… and **smart** modular design..

  30. HeinousKyle April 22, 2006 at 3:18 pm

    Why is it that stuff made out of garbage is so appealing?

  31. .w.h.i.m. April 22, 2006 at 10:46 am

    Well… Quite literally an airplane library the structure is. I had always imagined recycling of old airplanes as breaking them down to the components and using them for varied purposes. I guess whats done here is way lower energy recyclig!

    Awesome stuff.

  32. nogg3r5 April 22, 2006 at 9:14 am

    I dunno, isnt that just fuselage piled up with a few ladders? I’m all for recycling in design, I think this is a great idea, just a rubbish implementation.

  33. patriotic_aussie April 22, 2006 at 6:48 am

    Amazing, but I doubt they will be able to muster that many together in real life?
    And I think the wholesalers/scrappers would cotton onto this design a kick up the price a bit first.

  34. Scott April 21, 2006 at 1:09 am

    The best part is the subtle reference to Amelie!

  35. Mr.Atos April 19, 2006 at 5:15 pm

    The ‘Buffalo Wings’ of the aircraft industry, no pun intended. (okay, maybe a little…)

    It is a great idea. It certainly shows one of the promising potentials I have yet seen for these items. I have seen rare occasions when someone attempted to turn one into a house, but that’s hardly a market and never particularly successful. The designer who does manifest a market for this ‘refuse’ deserves tha fame that will follow… and Lo-Tek is certainly getting close.

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