“one of the coolest private residences ever”
THIS IS PRIVATE PROPERTY. DO NOT DISTURB THE OWNERS. The 747 Wing House is a unique residential structure designed from the wings of a decommissioned Boeing 747-100 airplane. The project was completed by American architect David Randall Hertz, a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and his firm, the Studio of Environmental Architecture, in 2011. Working with associate Lucas Goettsche, Hertz assembled a team that was able to realize the project after many years of waiting on government approvals. The house has been widely publicized internationally because of its unique design, its sustainable use of recycled materials, the dramatic transportation of the wings to the building site that was completed by a truck and helicopter, and its creative repurposing of abandoned infrastructure to achieve an architectural work of significance. Hundreds of airplanes had been retired to sit in the deserts of California and sold at the price of their principal raw material, aluminum. The idea of utilizing recycled components and appropriating them in creative new ways was certainly consistent with the existing context of the original Tony Duquette structures and envisioned by architect Hertz as a continuum of that concept as appropriated to today's concerns regarding minimizing primary raw material use in buildings. The building is extremely light weight and features very few conventional materials. The main roof structure is almost entirely composed of the recycled wings. The use of the wings makes for a structure that uses materials more efficiently to achieve higher strength with less weight. Using the wings to achieve the curvilinear roof structure desired by the client saved a substantial amount of embodied energy, carbon dioxide output, and construction waste, compared to building a similar sized house made from conventional materials that would have to be transported up and down the mountain to the same location. Using the wing was also a substantial cost reduction. Even at $8-18,000 per hour for the helicopter and $30,000 for the 747, it was still a fraction of the cost of building a similarly shaped roof with conventional materials. The 747 Wing House was built on the site where existing Duquette structures had burned. Some of the materials from the previous building were used as walkways. The use of the existing pad minimized site grading. The foundation used many of the existing concrete retaining walls but they were rebuilt and reinforced as required to meet new code regulations. This greatly reduced the amount of concrete needed to make the foundation and new walls. Because the wings are only supported in four primary places to the ground, the foundation was further minimized. Both main wings are held up entirely by the four large mounts that the engines originally hung from. By designing the weight distribution on the mounts, it allowed for the outside walls of the building to be made of high efficiency self-supporting glass instead of conventional load-bearing wooden walls. This maximizes solar gain for heating and allows the entire building to be opened to the outside. This also keeps it cool in the summers and minimizes the need for artificial light. The home features an eight kilowatt solar array and evacuated tube hot water system as well as thermal solar systems for heating water. High performance glass and cellulose insulation is used in the wings to create an energy efficient building envelope.
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747 Wing House
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