Recycled 747 Being Used To Build A Unique “Green”
Most aged airliners
spend their last years sitting in desert compounds before
succumbing to the scrappers torch to be melted down and recycled
into toasters or soda cans. But according to the San Jose Mercury
News, one particular Boeing 747 has embarked onto a more unique
retirement -- as a new home in the exclusive Southern California
community of Malibu.
Thanks to land owner and builder Francie Rehwald, the parts of
the old airliner will provide the materials for Rehwalds new 4,000
square foot home, guest houses, caretaker's residence and a barn on
her rolling 55 acre ranch in Malibu. After more than a year of
delays, the first part of the house – one of the massive 125
foot wings – arrived at the site slung under a helicopter
If you’re thinking this is yet another derelict airliner
made into a home in it’s original shape, you’d be
mistaken. Though Rehwalds goal is to use every piece of the plane,
keeping with her sensibilities as an environmentalist and an
admirer of art, the finished product will look nothing like the
assembled jumbo jet when complete.
The wings will form roof of the home and an art studio will be
made from a piece of the plane's fuselage. A viewing platform where
visitors can gaze across the hills toward the Pacific Ocean will be
made of the tail. One of the guest houses will be created from the
first class lounge that was part of rear of the upper deck on the
plane. Even the nose cone will be reused as a meditation
"I finally found a client crazy enough and willing enough to do
it," joked architect David Hertz of Studio of Environmental
Architecture. Hertz and his firm are well-known for building
so-called "green" houses out of recycled and natural materials, but
this is his first venture into using an old airliner.
The first venture promises to be a costly one too. Though the
aircraft itself was a bargain at a price of $40,000, getting it
from its location in the Mojave Desert to its final spot in Malibu
has been costly. After being cut up into more manageable pieces at
the junkyard, the aircraft was transported 100 miles via road to
Camarillo Airport where it sat awaiting site preparation. After the
aircraft has been moved to Malibu, transportation will have
involved approval from 17 government agencies and closing five
freeways -- plus one expensive helicopter.
The 125-foot wings could not be trucked to the property due to
the twisting turns of the canyons around Malibu. As a result both
wings needed to be flown in under a heavy lift helicopter.
"It's costing us $10,000 an hour," to fly them in, said Lucas
Goettsche, the project's manager.
Though the plan sounds eccentric and expensive, family and
friends of Rehwald say they weren't all that surprised when she
told them what she had planned.
"I thought it was a little crazy but in line with my mom. She's
quite a character," laughs Rehwald's daughter, Minka
Marcom-Rehwald. "My mom's definitely a hippie at heart.”