Above: An Apollo-era design. Oh hey, you should also check out this awesome blog called Beyond Apollo, which is ALL about concepts and ideas from the golden age of American spaceflight. I was impressed enough to add it to my blogroll. :) Really wonderful stuff!
Below: On cusp of the shuttle-era NASA was working on this "spider" space station that recycles a spent tank for crew housing.
A 1977 concept drawing for a space station. Known as the "spider" concept, this station was designed to use Space Shuttle hardware. A solar array was to be unwound from the exhausted main fuel tank. The structure could then be formed and assembled in one operation. The main engine tank would then be used as a space operations control center, a Shuttle astronaut crew habitat, and a space operations focal point for missions to the Moon and Mars.Very cool to see them working on not just the main orbiter vehicle but an entire playset--er, family of spacecraft for the then fledgling program.
All images: NASA via Wired.com