05 December 2010

Mad Engineering: Build your own Egg Apartment

Twenty-four year old architect Dai Haifei of Hunan province had just landed a new job in Beijing. However, he could not afford to live in what is one of China’s most expensive cities. Unable to afford the rent, he took matters into his own hands and decided to build his own house in the courtyard of his office (he should have called Jimmy McMillan). After 2 months of construction, the result was a one room dwelling shaped like an egg and covered with grass. He built this house on the cheap. By using his friends as labor, he only had to pay for the materials. Which Included:

Wheels 元160
Zip ties 元125
Grinder 元31
Water tank, pump 元95
Steel rods 元573
Drill 元18
Bamboo 元375
Other Tools 元210
Glue 元200
Waterproof fabrics 元508
Solar Panels 元970
Square rods 元30
Screws 元115
Paint 元284
Welders 元260
Spray gun 元450
Gauze 元600
Insulation 元100
Grass seeds 元110
Lightbulbs 元36
Vent Fan 元50
Plexiglass 元160
Sink 元60
Steel mesh 元240
Total 元6427
Meaning he built the whole thing for $965 dollars. Less than a grand for a mobile home.

The shell is made of a steel wire and bamboo wood frame. The exterior is made of hundreds of mesh packets filled with soil and grass seed zip tied together to form insulation (it would be interesting to see if he can stand the Beijing winter).

Inside is a single bed and little floor space. It contains a floor vent, solar panels for power, a light, a skylight/window, a pop-out side, even a water tank and sink. 

The entire thing is portable to. It stands on four wheels and can easily be lifted with a forklift onto a truck.

Dai eats out every night, uses public restrooms, his company’s gym and their showers, has no commute, and never pays any rent. Needless to say he’s living the good life. 

Seeing this makes me want to build my own. I don’t care if its three times smaller than my room, it would just be so cool.

You can view the entire construction process in his flickr album.


  1. That is seriously cool, and I really admire his ingenuity.

  2. You have to give the man credit for his creativity and imagination but what I'm wondering is how is he going to bring a girl to his house, let along friends or relatives?

  3. Aren't there planning laws that should've prevented this?

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