David Hertz Architects FAIA & The Studio of Environmental Architecture

747 Wing House


roject Description

This project exists on a 55-acre property in the remote hills of Malibu with unique topography and panoramic views looking out to a nearby mountain range, a valley, and the Pacific Ocean with islands in the distance. In searching for inspiration, I imagined a roof structure that would allow for a un-obstructed view of the mountain range and distant views. The client, a woman, requested curvilinear/feminine shapes for the building. The progenitor of the building’s form was envisioned as a floating curved roof. It soon became apparent, that in fact, an airplane wing itself could work. In researching airplane wings and superimposing different airplane wing types on the site to scale, the wing of a 747, at over 2,500 sq. ft., became an ideal configuration to maximize the views and provide a self supporting roof with minimal additional structural support needed.

By incorporating many of the previous pads and retaining walls we sought to minimize significant grading and subsequent impacts to the existing topography and landscape. The wing structures are conceived to be positioned to float on top of simple concrete walls that are cut into the hillsides. The floating roofs will derive simple support from steel brace frames, which will attach to strategic mounting points on the wing where the engines were previously mounted. Frameless, structural self-supporting glass will create the enclosure from the concrete slab on grade into the wing as roof. The scale of a 747 aircraft is enormous - over 230 feet long, 195 feet wide and 63 feet tall with over 17,000 cubic feet of cargo area alone and represents a tremendous amount of material for a very economical price of less than $50,000 dollars.  Additionally, incorporating prefabricated lightweight components off site and delivering them to the remote site via helicopter, although at a cost of $8,000/hr. became realistic after considering the cost of getting traditional labor and material to the site.

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. 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.

As we analyzed the cost, it seemed to make more sense to acquire an entire airplane and to use as many of the components as possible, like the Native American Indians used every part of the buffalo. Therefore, the property is to consist of several structures all made with components and pieces of a Boeing 747-200 aircraft.

The Main Residence uses both of the main wings as well as the 2 stabilizers from the tail section as a roof for the Master Bedroom. The Art Studio Building will use a 50-foot long section of the upper fuselage as a roof, while the remaining front portion of the fuselage and upper first class cabin deck will be used as the roof of the Guest House. The lower half of the fuselage, which forms the cargo hold, will form the roof of the Animal Barn. A Meditation Pavilion will be made from the entire front of the airplane at 28 feet in diameter and 45 feet tall; the cockpit windows will form a skylight. Several other components are contemplated for use in a sublime manner, which include a fire pit and water element constructed out of the engine cowling.

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747 wing house

A triumph of regenerative design, the 747 Wing House upcycles airplane components into poetic roof forms. The Boeing was bound for the garbage pile before S.E.A. intercepted and reimagined it as architecture. The wings and tail stabilizers were all pre-engineered as self-supporting structures, making them perfect lightweight long-span roof profiles. The project represents S.E.A.’s commitment to maximizing the longevity of building and product life-cycles in novel ways.

A tradition of radical reuse defines the site’s storied genius loci. The fifty-five acre property is part of the historic Tony Duquette estate, defined by diverse follies that the Hollywood set designer built with repurposed industrial scrap. Continuing that legacy, other parts of the Boeing 747 are planned to become new pavilions and sculptures around the site. The Wing House is thus an artistic response to Duquette’s legacy for the 21st century.

Many of the previous pads and retaining walls were kpet in order to minimize project’s impacts on the landscape. The main building uses one wing as well as the tail stabilizers for the roof, while the guest house is covered by the remaining wing. The roofs appear to float by utilizing steel brace frames which strategically connect to points on the wings where engines were previously mounted. This liberates the exterior walls to be frameless, floor-to-ceiling self-supporting glass, providing sublime panoramic views of Boney Mountain and Serrano Valley

Project Details

Year: 2013
Location: Malibu, CA
Typology: single family residence
Program: 2 bed, 3 bath
Size: 5,200 sqft
Sustainable Features:
  • adaptive reuse
  • photovoltaic panels
  • radiant heating
  • natural ventilation
  • heat mirror glazing
Photography: Laura Doss,
Carson Leh

747 wing house floorplans THE PLAN.jpg
David Hertz Architect Los Angeles Green Solar Panels Sustainable Award top venice beach california wing house winghouse_site_plan.jpg

Radio Interviews  



  • Leaf Review


  • THE PLAN August (Featuring 747 House) Download PDF

  • Record Houses April 2012 (Featuring 747 House) Download PDF

  • California Cool Book (Featuring Panel House) Download PDF

  • HANDCRAFT (china) (Featuring 747 House)

  • Dwell June 2012 (Westside home tour) Download PDF

  • GA Houses 124 (Featuring 747 House) Download PDF

  • GARDEN DESIGN "Amazing Spaces" March 2012 Download PDF

  • Green is Beautiful 'The Eco-friendly house" 2012 (featuring Nordine) Download PDF

  • Harpers Bazaar "Rihanna interview" (Featuring 747 House) Download PDF

  • INGREEN Residential Homes (Featuring Panel House) Download PDF

  • Los Angeles Magazine Dec 2012 (Featuring 747 House) Download PDF

  • Lufthanseat 'Luftansa Airline Newspaper' (Featuring 747 House)

  • Marie Claire Malaysia Download PDF

  • NEW AMERICAN LUXURY Summer 2012 (Featuring 747 House & Mullin Automotive Museum) Download PDF

  • View magazine "Home Grown" Download PDF

  • Le Monde July 2012 (Featuring 747 House)

  • ArcCA 10.3 (Featuring 747 House)

  • SCI-ARC issue 002, 2011 Download PDF

  • MARK Another Architecture n0 29 (Featuring 747 House), Dec 2010 Jan 2011 Download PDF


  • Angeleno magazine “winging it" (Featuring 747 House), 2010 Download PDF

  • 944 Magazine (Featuring 747 House), 2010 Download PDF

  • Ripleys Believe it or Not (Featuring 747 House), 2010

  • JetGala 02 (Featuring 747 House), Sept/ Oct 2010 Download PDF

  • Sunset Magazine (Featuring 747 House), 2010 Download PDF

  • Jimon "30 Min. with David Hertz" Download PDF

  • Wired mag Nov 2010 (Featuring 747 House)


  • Green Architecture Now! Featuring Wing House Download PDF

  • Green Architecture Now, Featuring 747 Wing House Download PDF

  • Upwardly Mobile, Featuring 747 Wing House, Fall 2009 Download PDF

  • Ventura Life, Featuring 747 Wing House, 02/09


  • Plenty Magazine (Wing House)

  • AOL (Wing House)

  • German GQ 747 WingHouse Download PDF

  • Professional House Builder (UK) Wing House

  • Innovative HOME magazine, featuring the 747 Wing House

  • LA DESIGN magazine (747 Wing House) Download PDF


  • Sustain Magazine, vol8 issue 2, featuring the 747 Wing House Download PDF

  • Airliners, January/February, featuring the 747 Wing House

  • Financial Times, featuring the 747 Wing House Download PDF

  • CNET, featuring the 747 Wing House

  • LA Weekly, featuring the 747 Wing House Download PDF


  • Passages Arquitectura y Critica, September, featuring the 747 Wing House

  • Il Giornale Dell’Architettura, Nov., featuring the 747 Wing house

  • Aluminum Now, Vol 8 Jul/Aug, featuring the 747 Wing House

  • Popular Science Online, featuring the 747 Wing House

  • Angeleeno Magazine, featuring the 747 Wing House

  • AIT, January/February, featuring 747 Wing House


  • LA Times Magazine, September, featuring the 747 Wing House Download PDF

  • The Venice Paper, May/June, featuring the 747 Wing House

  • The Ventura County Star, November, featuring the 747 Wing House

  • The Wall Street Journal, November, featuring the 747 Wing House Download PDF