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The Wing House: Design flying high

If houses would fly one day, then the Wing House could be the first prototype. The fluid forms of this extraordinary house in Malibu were created by the architect David Hertz and his Studio of Environmental Architecture. The detached house’s design is both unique and sustainable.

The unusual project was commissioned by a private client, wanting a single-family home in Malibu with soft, round shapes. For Hertz, in turn, it was important to take into account the fabulous view from the almost 15 hectares piece of land. It offers an idyllic panorama over the pacific as well as the mountains and valleys of the Santa Monica Mountains. In the beginning of the 90ties, the original residence was destroyed in a forest fire – what was left were only a few foundational walls, which Hertz was able to use for his construction. This resulted in a detached house of concrete and glass. The roof construction is what stands out in particular.

The Wing House: The perfect roof lying fallow in the desert

Already in the plans of the three-story building, the roof’s shape was similar to that of a wing of an aeroplane. And Hertz actually ended up using a real aeroplane wing to construct the roof of the house. The flat, curved, streamlined shape sets a clear tone. Based on the required size, part of the fuselage and wings of a Boeing 747 could be used. With a dimension of around 38 by 14 metres, they make for a large self-supporting construction, only needing two columnar supports. Moreover, the structure allowed for extremely large, self-supporting glazing. The highly-efficient UV- and heat-absorbing windows in the wings of the former aeroplane and the insulation in the shell of the fuselage keep the house cool during summer. Additionally, they reduce the need for artificial lighting. The total costs of the entire jet, lying fallow in the desert, amounted up to 30,000 Dollars. The different parts had to be transported with a helicopter.

The Wing House: Design flying high

Wing House
Wing House
Wing House
Wing House

A unique piece of architecture

The efforts paid off: an exceptional piece of architecture was created, which, by the way, is also registered with the aviation authorities so that it will not be mistaken for a crashed aircraft. The main house exists of two separate buildings that are connected with one and other over three floors. The two wings were integrated into this structure as well as the two horizontal stabilizers of the Boeing 747. The lower house is partly open, and its ceilings are 5,5 metres high and topped off with the left 747-wing.

It is not only the design of the Wing House that is extraordinary. The house is also an impressive example in terms of its sustainability.  

All parts of the fuselage of the Boeing were reused: the complete front was used for a meditation gazebo and the guest house was created out of the first-class section of the plane. Four more parts of the building were constructed using parts of the “N611FF”, the Boeing’s registration number. Even the engine nacelles and tail could be incorporated. A photovoltaic installation powers the house’s internal electricity network and the heating – the latter is rarely needed in California. A solar thermal system is used to heat the water. Hertz did not install an air conditioner; ventilation takes place solely in a natural way. It is clear that the Wing House, with its aeroplane parts, is an excellent example of how existing materials can be recycled. It has, amongst others, already won the Residential Design Award of the California Council.

Do you like this exceptional piece of design? Would you like to live in the Wing House? We are looking forward to receiving your comments!

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