747 'Wing House' nears completion

June 17, 2010

Why throw away that old jumbo jet when you can live in it? A house constructed from an old Boeing 747 is nearing completion in Malibu, Calif.

Constructed from a retired 747-200 jet, the Wing House consists of a main residence and six ancillary structures on a 55-acre property in a remote area of Malibu. Owner Francie Rehwald had requested curvilinear, feminine shapes for the building, and architect David Hertz said he was looking for a roof structure that would allow for an unobstructed view of the mountain range and distant sites. He decided to use an airplane wing.

“After visiting the planes and verifying with the building department that there is nothing specifically prohibiting the use of an airplane wing as a roof, we began to explore the actual structure of the wings in particular and examined if other components might be used for additional accessory structures on the property,” Hertz wrote on his website. “Although, we did find out that we have to register the roof of the house with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) so pilots flying overhead do not mistake it as a downed aircraft.”

Construction includes as many of the components of the aircraft as possible, “like the Native American Indians used every part of the buffalo,” Hertz wrote. Components were airlifted to the remote building site by helicopter. The cost of $8,000 an hour became realistic after considering the cost of getting traditional labor and material to the site, he added.

The main wings and two stabilizers from the tail sections make up the roof for the master bedroom, and the art studio building roof comprises a 50-foot-long section of the upper fuselage. Additional pieces of the fuselage are used as roofs for the animal barn and guest house. Other parts of the aircraft make up the meditation pavilion.