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Young Beijing Architect Lives in Mobile Egg House on Sidewalk

eggDai Haifei, 24, a newly graduated architect, decided to make his own egg-style home after being unable to afford Beijing’s sky-high rental prices. The two-meter high house with two wheels underneath is made from sack bags on the outside wall, bamboo splints on the inside and wood chippings and grass seeds in between. “The seeds will grow in the natural environment and it’s cold-proof," Dai explained.

Dai was inspired to build the 6,427 yuan ($964) home after attending the 2010 Shanghai Biennale Exhibition where he was attracted by a novel architectural project called "City's egg" earlier this year. "I was impressed by the green-notion of building a house like that, especially in cities like Beijing where rental price for a fresh graduate is a huge burden," Dai said.

He moved the house steps away from his office where he would stay until midnight before going to sleep inside the "egg". There's only one bed, a water tank and a lamp inside the house.

"I feel good living here though it's simple, and a bit cold sometimes, what important for me, is - it saves me a lot of money!" Dai told a reporter.

Egg house designer will be forced to live in rented house

On the evening of Dec. 3, Dai Haifei looked very tired standing beside his "egg-shaped house."

His egg house is to be removed soon. After it gained so much attention from both the media and the public by touching on social concerns, the young graduate from the Hunan City University will lose his home, which is not warm enough but it belongs to him. He has to search once more for shelter in this city.

Dai said it would take 200 to 300 years for his parents to save enough to buy him a home in this city on their current income.

On the afternoon of Dec. 3, the door of Dai Haifei's egg house opened and people came from all around to visit.

He became famous overnight, and he can't seem to get used to this.

Enthusiastic fans hoped to meet and chat with Dai Haifei. Media agencies also wanted to interview him. However, Dai Haifei did not want to show up, so he hid in the office building. He said he only hopes that things cool down quickly.

Dai does not want to live in the remote corners of the city, nor pay his hard-earned wages to the landlord, and spend two or three hours per day in the crowded bus, but, in the face of the reality of high house prices, all his hopes were dashed. Dai’s egg house originated from a simple idea.

"I want to have a home that belongs to me. It does not need to be big so long as it can keep out the wind and rain," Dai said.

Fortunately, he has this ability, and also the opportunity.

He studied architecture at the university. Last year, he went to Beijing to practice what he has learned in a company, participated in a work of design called "the city's eggs." The purpose of the design is to provide housing to the migrant population.

Then he was struck with an idea. After graduation, he would become part of the floating population, so this design is very suitable for him. As an architecture student, it was a good idea for him to attempt to solve the housing problem himself. So he deployed several students from the studio to help Dai Haifei build an egg house before he traveled to Tibet.

Two months later, the egg house was completed with a steel frame structure and bamboo covering.

Dai Haifei started to work. He rented a truck to take his house to Beijing and placed it in the courtyard near the company where he was working. With manufacturing costs of 6,000 yuan, and 3,000 yuan in transport, this house cost about 10,000 yuan in total.

He said that his parents want to help him buy a house, but his father worked in construction building site, mother is a cleaner in a company so they make very little.

Dai's living situation was not bad: his home was close to his office — just 4 meters away — and he need not ride a crowded bus, nor pay rent. The room used solar lighting and if he needed water, he would get a bucket of it from the office building.

If the story of the egg house had not been published on the Web, it is possible that Dai could still be living this life today as normal.

However, everything has changed. Now lots of fans, including students, journalists, businessmen, and foreigners, come to visit his house.

Zhao Guihai (a pseudonym) working in an investment company in Beijing, said that the egg house lit up a dream that was buried in his heart for many years. He wanted to launch a "Straw House" program with Dai Haifei. However, he waited downstairs for a long time. Dai Haifei always hid in the office and did not show.

Some netizens said that it is a grass-roots action to struggle with the high house prices.

Dai said the egg house is just a design work.

"I just want to solve my housing problem. I don't know it can pull out so many problems," Dai said

When he built this egg house, he was enthusiastic, but when the egg house has become the focus of so much attention, he was a little heartbroken. He would have to give up on his passion.

At 8:00 p.m. on Dec. 3, the egg house was quietly removed. His company said that this design work will be saved.

Company insiders said that "At present, there are still many technical aspects of the egg house that should be improved, such as waste disposal and heat preservation problems, so we cannot begin mass production."

Dai Haifei said "these days, I am living in my friend's home. I may rent a house near the company."








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