Sustainable Housing in Beijing: The Story of the Mobile Egg

December 16, 2010 § 1 Comment

The Beijing housing crisis hasn’t ebbed.  So, imagine a solar-powered home in Beijing proper with a 15-foot commute to work—all for under $1000.  Well, that’s precisely what Dai Haifei, a young architecture graduate of Hunan City University, imagined.  During the course of this past summer Dai, with the help of friends, built a portable house and in October moved it to the tiny lot just below his workplace.

It’s safe to say that its design wasn’t architecturally in keeping with the adjacent buildings:

But he found it sufficiently spacious and comfortable for his needs:


Framed in wood and bamboo and insulated with wood chips, “the egg” was about 7 feet tall, and accommodated a bed, a book shelf, a water tank, and a small table light. A built-in solar panel generated the electricity for the light, an electric blanket, and a kettle. (No bathroom, for those wondering; this is where proximity to his workplace was not unimportant.)

Though the egg was mostly for sleeping purposes alone, he could read or even entertain there as well:

The exterior was made of sewn-together jute sacks, filled with wood chips and grass seed to provide insulation:

The green you see there is the seed beginning to sprout.  Dai hoped the grown grass would serve as a natural insulator against the cold and give his “green” mobile egg a–well–more green feel:

Dai appeared to be pretty happy with his small but inexpensive and convenient quarters:

Unfortunately, the Beijing housing authorities (Haidian Urban Management) were less happy.  On December 2, they informed him that it was an “illegal construction” and must be removed (China Daily)

Apparently, Dai then wheeled it away into a storage area belonging to Standard Architects, the design firm that employs him–but not before his egg house on wheels had brought considerable attention, national and international, to Beijing’s need for more sustainable, affordable housing.  (See more photos of egg house)


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§ One Response to Sustainable Housing in Beijing: The Story of the Mobile Egg

  • Anonymous22 says:

    Such an ingenious, alluring urban igloo! What a clever idea, and what great publicity! Thanks for another fascinating post.

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