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!

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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

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