When you think of building materials, what is the first image that comes to mind? Probably bricks, right? How else would you build a house? Well, David Hertz did things a little differently. He built a house with a Boeing 747, and the end result is like a cross between something out of a James Bond movie and a sci-fi movie:
Yep, a Boeing 747. How does one go about building a house with a plane, you might be thinking. How expensive is that going to be? Well, you’d be surprised. Once planes are grounded and are no longer in use, they’re sent to an aeroplane graveyard where they tend to just carry on sitting until they’re completely rusty and unusable. Despite the fact that aeroplanes cost millions of dollars to make and maintain, you can buy one for as little as $50,000. Just think of all of the material within that plane – the seats, the overhead lockers, all of that metal that can be broken down or melted down, the wings, the windows, the baggage hold, the engines, propellers – virtually everything within the plane could have a second use as a material or as a design element, when you come to think of it.
British architect Kevin McCloud recently demonstrated this with a documentary series whereby he bought a plane, stripped it right down, and then a team of designers got to work creating some truly stunning pieces from it, including clocks, magazine racks, anglepoise lamps, sofas, garden pagodas and a lot of interesting, unique and very cool accessories. David Hertz has done the same, but on a scale that’s infinitely larger.
David’s client wanted the house to be feminine, with curves and graceful arches. After researching potential materials, he found that the wings of a 747 would create a beautiful roof – they’re self-supporting, and are braced on simple steel braces – at the same point that the engines were mounted, meaning that all of the support is already built right in. The house uses both wings, 2 stabilizers from the tail section of the plan to create the roof for the master bedroom, some material from the upper fuselage to create a studio, the upper first class cabin deck as a guest house and the entire front end of the plane including the cockpit to create a meditation pavillion – complete with the cockpit windows use as a skylight.
Planes are a surprisingly brilliant material to consider when building a house – especially as they’re so cheap. This is upcycling on a grand scale: the plane is 100% waste material and has already been built, which means that the designer can simply take advantage of that engineering and do something brilliant with it. Parts of the plane that aren’t quite as aesthetically pleasing do a wonderful job at creating space, while small parts like the windows or overhead lockers can either be broken down into something new or used as they are.
David’s main aim with the project was to create a home that provided panoramic views with no obstruction from the roof. We think he achieved it, don’t you?
Oh, and one surprising factoid. David has to register the house with the FAA so that pilots flying overhead wouldn’t mistake the wings as a downed plane. Keep that in mind if you ever want to build a house from a Boeing 747.