Gallery: Retired 747 Airplane Transformed Into Striking Malibu Home


Here at Inhabitat we’re huge fans of recycled airplane architecture, and it turns out that if you’re building a house on a sprawling property deep in the hills of Malibu, buying a retired 747, chopping it into parts, and reusing them is a relatively economical way to go. Apparently the woman who commissioned this recycled 747 residence from architect David Hertz isn’t afraid of flying!

Here’s how it works: buy a retired 747 for the paltry sum of $35,000. Register it with the FAA so pilots flying overhead don’t mistake the house for a downed aircraft. Disassemble the 230-foot long, 195-foot wide machine. Elevate the wings and tail stabilizers to use as a roof for the master bedroom. Create a roof for a detached art studio from a 50-foot long section of the upper fuselage. Add a guesthouse, constructing its roof from the remaining front part of the fuselage and the upper first-class cabin. The front of the airplane works well — for someone with absolutely no fear of flying — as a meditation gazebo, where the cockpit windows form a skylight. And since we’re in ranch country, use the cargo hold as an animal barn.

The philosophy behind the Malibu house, dubbed Wing House, has taken shape over time, like the disassembled parts of the plane. The 55-acre property previously belonged to costume designer Tony Duquette, who built more than 20 structures from found objects, and the rugged terrain favors multiple smaller structures.

New owner Francie Rehwald wanted curvilinear “feminine” shapes, and imagined a kind of floating roof set among the hills. An airplane wing sprang to architect David Hertz’s mind. The found shapes of the aircraft paradoxically echoed the indigenous feel that Duquette’s structures had established: “The 747 represented the single largest industrial achievement in modern history and its abandonment in the deserts make a statement about the obsolescence and ephemeral nature of our technology and our society.” In some sense, too, the airplane was like a giant aluminum can: a perfect metaphor for recycling — particularly because the airline industry is one most gluttonous users of aluminum cans. And design-wise, planes maximize space while minimizing materials.

Wing House will be completed by the end of this year.

+ Studio of Environmental Architects

Via MyFoxDC<


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  1. shellysamantha January 14, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    I worked as a flight attendant on this Tower Air 747 N611FF from 1986-1990 from JFK in New York to Europe and beyond. It is so wonderful to see my home-away-from home being used…well as a home, instead of a corpse lying in the desert. I am excited to see what this house looks like when it’s done.

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  3. frankc June 17, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Do I have my head on straight here? The main structure of the roof is a wing. Wings are designed to provide lift when airflow passes over them. I don\’t know how this was constructed or if the wing is inverted or what, but it seems to me any type of wind flowing over that roof is either going to create lift or a downward \”stall\” creating huge forces on the structure. Any comments?

  4. gnomeslayer78 June 17, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Nice looking house and great way to recyle, but i just was wondering what would happen if there is a strong head wind on one of those wing roofs. Not sure how strong the winds are where this house is or if the wings can generate that much lift from wind, but if it does i wouldnt want to be in that house.

    (May want to redesign roofs)

  5. davidwayneosedach June 17, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Talk about a unique residence that was built to last! I want one too!

  6. QDP June 17, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    I love the concept and execution, DH, a truly great job, but it makes me wonder, about the First Law of Thermodynamics: (Conservation of Energy) i.e. if all the energy, your considerable creative talents, vision, proposal, and then actual realization of dis-assembly, loading, transport, erection, adaptation, design, definition, structural conditions, finish modifications, permits and the final re- assembly REALLY make this house something that is effective and efficient for habitation?
    Aluminum conducts temperature very well, planar shapes meant for flying have certain “lift” configurations on a mountain top, obtuse angles, adapting to compound curvilinear surfaces, etc.
    If waterproofing is an art with huge challenges, here, you have tasks at hand-
    ….and all this WORK results in:

    Yes, something interesting and odd, but:

    Would you do it again? There, I already know your answer.

  7. Retired 747 Airplane Tr... June 16, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    […] of it are pretty hard to find! That’s why we were stoked when we saw this awesome “Wing House”  right in the hills of Malibu. Check out all the details of how this retired 747 was […]

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