Extreme recycling: Watch a cutting-edge house take wing in the Malibu hills
Like hundreds of aging 747s from the U.S. fleet, this one was retired to an “airplane junkyard” in California’s Mojave Desert. Francie Rehwald snapped it up for $35,000, the price of its principal raw material—aluminum—without engines and electrical components.
The jet was 63 feet high, 195 feet wingtip to wingtip, and 230 feet long—about two-thirds the length of a football field. To get it ready for travel, the plane was “filleted” (sliced in half lengthwise, with wings still attached).
Then the plane was cut into sections. The entire 747 had enough strong, lightweight parts to create the main house and six smaller structures, including an art studio, a barn, and a meditation pavilion that uses the cockpit window as a skylight.
This lower half, once a cargo hold, will form the barn's roof.