Man Built An Egg Shaped Dwelling As His Home In Beijing


Chinese Society  Updated:Mon, Dec 6, 2010 21:45 PM   By Bernd Chang


Capsule Apartment,Snail dwelling

Daihai Fei, a young man works in Beijing, is seen in an egg-shaped house built by his own in Beijing, China, November 30, 2010. 

Dai Haifei (戴海飞), 24 years old form Hunan province, built and placed an egg shaped small house in a courtyard in Beijing, as his home.

November 30, 2010, Beijing - Dai Haifei, 24, graduated only half a year ago. Using the design skills he learned at his company, Dai built a small "egg-shaped" cottage as his home.

Dai's company is located in a big courtyard on Chengfu Road in Haidian District, Beijing. Below the building of his company, a small house that looks like a giant egg stands on the lawn.

The 2-meter-high house, the external layer of which is made up of gunny bags, looks really rough. On the shell of the "egg," there is an oval door without a lock. Under the house, wheels were installed, allowing it to move.

On the inside, the small house is made of bamboo strips, which are affixed with nails. Dai said that there is also a bamboo mat layer, a thermal insulation layer and a rain-proof layer outside the bamboo strips, and the outside surface is another thermal insulating layer made of gunny bags filled with zymotic sawdust and weed seeds. In the spring, weeds will grow from the bags, he said.

The furnishings in the egg-shaped shelter are simple. There is a 1-meter-wide bed with several books on the head of the bed and a hidden water tank at the end of the bed. The water tank is equipped with a pressure system which he can use to push the water up to wash.

The current apartment price in Beijing is averaged at about 20000 yuan per square meter, while average income for a new comer in career with college degree stays about 4000 yuan per month.

Dai's hometown is located in the countryside of Shaoyang, Hunan Province. His father is a construction worker and his mother works as an office cleaner. He said that although his parents are old, they work hard to save money for his marriage.

"They do not know that under their current wage levels, they need to work 200 to 300 years to buy me a house in Beijing," said Dai, "It is also difficult for me to afford the rent for a house in Beijing."

"Although I still save no money every month now, my living quality has remarkably improved," Dai said.

Dai Haifei built the “egg” house with bamboo in Hunan and it only cost him 6,427 yuan, and shipping it from Hunan to Beijing cost him another 3500 yuan.

He has lived in his shelter for almost two months and can occasionally enjoy the "petty bourgeoisie lifestyle" in coffee houses without the burden of rent.

Threatened by eviction and cold winter

In an interview with a local newspage in Beijing, Dai Haifei said his house had been the target of eviction, but because he had no place to move to, eventually they let the matter rest. He had thought about having a real home to get married in, but for now, he enjoys life in an “eggshell”.

On December 1, the director of Chengguan or city management office in Haidian District said in an interview that the egg shaped house is illegal and should be demolished. And the property management office where the Mr. Dai's company resides required that the house be moved indoors.

When asked if he feared he would be possibly freezing in cold Beijng winter, Dai said:"I did not think so much, in fact, I do not feel very 'tough'. The winder in Hunan is worse than Beijing, it’s kind of wet cold. So I think it’s no so bad here, I only sleep here, my blank is thick. I actually woke up last night because it was too hot. My parents also know my life. I called them and told them where I am. They also feel happy that I can save some rent money."

The recorded average temperature in January in Beijing is minus 5oC. Last year the recorded lowest temperature was minus 16oC.

This design was nominated for the second annual China Architecture Media Awards
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