747 Wing House / David Hertz Architects


Architect: David Hertz Architects
Location: , California, United States
Project Area: 2,500 sqf
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: David Hertz Architects


© David Hertz Architects

Inspired by the remote hills of this Malibu property, David Hertz Architects wanted to come up with a design for this home that allow for unobstructed views of the beautiful mountain ranges surrounding the site. With the architects’ goal of incorporating found objects into their design and the homeowner’s vision of a floating, curved roof, the idea of using airplane wings as roof material surfaced. After conducting more research, it was decided that airplane wings would be ideal for maximizing the views from the home.

© David Hertz Architects

By incorporating many of the existent retaining walls, the architects were able to keep the multi-level structure and minimize any additional impact to the existing topography and landscape. The home has rammed-earth walls that were cut into the hillside as well as strong concrete walls to support the roof. Simple steel brace frames allow the roof to “float” above the rest of the structure, while self-supporting glass walls give the homeowner spectacular views overlooking the city of Malibu.

© David Hertz Architects

Because the roof material was obtained from planes that had been retired to sit in the deserts of California, the architects were able to purchase the parts they needed at the low price of their raw material, aluminum. Although the pieces had to be flown in by helicopter, this method of transportation was a reasonable alternative considering the high cost of getting traditional labor and materials to the site.

© David Hertz Architects

The architects purchased the entire plane and used as many components as possible in the design, so as to not waste more than was necessary. The cockpit windows of the plane were reconstructed into a skylight, the home’s fire pit was crafted from the engine cowling and the first class cabin deck was made into the roof of the guest house. All of the plane parts came from a Boeing 747-200 aircraft.

© David Hertz Architects

The 747 represented the single largest industrial achievement in modern history and its abandonment in the desert makes a statement about the obsolescence and ephemeral nature of our technology and our society. As a structural and engineering achievement, the aircraft encloses a lot of space using the least amount of materials in a very resourceful and efficient manner. The recycling of the 4.5 million parts of the plane is seen as an extreme example of sustainable reuse and appropriation.

Cite: "747 Wing House / David Hertz Architects" 07 Sep 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 19 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=165172>


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    I was fascinated by French Architect, Le Corbusier in the 1960s and studied Architecture and Town planning in my native India and later taught at New Delhi’s School of Planning and Architecture but even before my undergraduate degree, learned to fly with a Private Pilot’s license. While traveling in the Middle-east through Iran, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, I had come across several instances where an innovative shack had been built by unskilled, often homeless folks using the materials salvaged from downed war planes. That was 45 years back. This beautiful house reminds me of not only the imaginative skills of trained architects but also the indomitable spirit of the homeless to craft shelters out of enduring materials salvaged from anywhere! It is truly inspiring to witness human ingenuity across cultures, both advanced as well as primitive.

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