Constructing buildings with industrial detritus seems to be a trend of late. We recently covered LOT-EK’s airplane fuselage library, and a few months back you may have heard of the 747 Wing House — a Malibu home made from a dismantled Boeing 747-200 (see aircraft images after the jump).

The same architect who did the Wing House also designed another residence that was on the home tour circuit at this year’s CA Boom show. I’d been hearing about David Hertz Architects‘ Panel House for some time, so when I saw that it’d be open for viewing during CA Boom, I jumped on the bus.

Why is it called the Panel House? Because it’s made of prefabricated industrial refrigeration panels.

The panels are manufactured out of 6-inch thick foam skinned with thin sheet aluminum that is painted with a Kynar paint finish. The 6-inch thick panels are 30 inches wide x 30 feet tall and weigh less than a hundred pounds each…[they] orient vertically with an interlocking joint and are screwed to the closure plate at the floors. The panels are designed with a dull aluminum finish creating a surface that has a subtle reflectivity of the changing colors of the sky and sunsets.

The Panel House sits right on Venice beach, just steps from the ocean, and perched above the Venice boardwalk, a notoriously great place for people-watching (which will inevitably be a favorite pastime of the future residents of this mostly-glass dwelling). We entered from the back on the ground level, where an attendant was preparing to activate the sliding glass wall on the beachfront side of the building. The two-story window began sliding down along its worm drive gear system, so that by the time we’d climbed the stairs to the main floor, the entire western side of the house was wide open to the ocean breeze.

Two issues arise from having such a transparent west facing fa�ade, the need for increased privacy, and implementation of solar modulators. A system of aluminum louvers was designed to combat both issues, minimizing the solar gain and providing the desired privacy.

In addition to stairways, vertical circulation is addressed through the use of a glass pneumatic elevator. The elevator is the quickest and easiest access to the rooftop where there are photovoltaic panels, solar panels and a never-ending pool.

The pool didn’t actually appear to be “never-ending,” but the view of the Pacific certainly did…

The Panel House was an impressive place, even in its raw state. The entire structure feels like a mechanism for interaction with the elements –particularly in the use of passive and active solar and natural ventilation (not to mention the unique heat-storage benefits of heavy-duty refrigerator panels). The extreme outdoor living might not be too cozy on a foggy winter day in Venice, but on a clear day, the ability to eliminate the west wall or bask poolside on the roof doesn’t sound too bad at all.

+ David Hertz Architects (and Syndesis, Inc.)


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  1. Holluwarooteemee June 17, 2010 at 6:35 am

    Please need to build a city that will occupy up to about the distance of 45 kilometers square in Osun state Nigeria. The boarder will be share between Ife south local government head quarters (Ifetedo) boarder and the road that separate the Obafemi Awolowo University whit Ile-Ife city. Need your reply first as to known how to come over to your office (there is basic instruction on how to do your architect job)

    Thank you sincerely,

    Evangelist, Eludoyin-Awofe Samuel Oluwarotimi.
    Pronounce: Helludoying-Hawophe Holluwarooteemee

  2. Inhabitat » PREFA... January 26, 2007 at 2:27 am

    […] David Hertz, the always-crafty architect and principal of Syndesis, has impressed us before with his homes constructed from everything from dismantled airplanes to refrigeration panels. And now, thanks to a partnership with Steve Glenn, he’s the designer of Living Homes’ newest prefab design, aptly named the Living Home by David Hertz. Between CEO Steve Glenn’s commitment to the highest green standards and David Hertz’s forward-thinking design concepts, it’s no surprise that the newest Living Homes design is at the vanguard of environmentally-friendly, livable, modern architecture. Built using a panelized aluminum system, the home measures a spacious 2,650 square feet with four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a green roof, and a slew of other green materials. […]

  3. Jan Jongert May 16, 2006 at 7:31 am

    well….. if you’re into igning with planes… dont miss Avion with their DC-9 mobile exhibition centre

    you can see it at our site (exampledesigns) or with a direct link

    great collection, we’ll include these on our site

  4. Stuart May 3, 2006 at 5:55 pm

    Simply amazing! BEWARE: Genius at work!

  5. Joanne May 3, 2006 at 4:31 pm

    Fantastic! I love to see what David Hertz is up to next. He has been leading sustainable architecture for years here in L.A. and is always on the forefront of discovering and using new materials. These aluminum skinned foam walls sound amazing. I’ve been waiting for the perfect building material to construct a (quick) stand alone studio here in Venice, CA. and this sounds (and looks) like a perfect solution.

    Thanks for the post,

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