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Cracks appear in 'egg home' story as compact house disappears

[ 2010-12-06 13:40]     字号 [] [] []  
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The 6-square-meter mobile "egg home" that made headlines last week is no more.

The compact mobile home that was built by its 24-year-old owner as a personal solution to the city's sky-high rents has been removed from its parking place.

The sudden disappearance has prompted skeptics to wonder whether the home was really a tool in a publicity campaign organized by the owner's employer.

Several witnesses who work in buildings surrounding the yard in Haidian district where the egg home was parked said more than 10 people, including the home's owner Dai Haifei and his colleagues, moved the tiny home onto a truck and drove it away about 8 pm on Friday.

Dai reportedly told local media that the home had been collected by his company - a construction design firm - because of its unique design.

The home, which looks like a huge egg covered in small jute bags, uses low technology and low-carbon ideas such as turning solar energy into electricity.

It had been attracting lots of attention from passers-by and the city's media, and was widely talked about online.

Internet forums in the names of Dai and his "egg home" were set up on baidu.com, and the domain name danxingwoju.com - meaning "egg-style narrow dwelling" in Chinese - was registered.

Videos taken by local media outlets of the home, both inside and out, have been spreading on the Internet.

In addition, nearly 50 high-quality photos were being widely circulated online showing the entire construction process.

Dai, who earlier told the press that he built his compact mobile home because he couldn't afford his 900-yuan monthly rent, may have only lived in the unusual dwelling for a few days and actually used it as a demonstration of his design skills, according to the New Express newspaper.

Some netizens complained online that the whole media frenzy about the house was part of a "well-planned" business promotion by the construction design company that employs Dai, Standard Architects.

A staff member at Standard Architects said the company had asked its employees not to comment on the issue.

But Zhang Hong, a senior member of the company, said in an earlier interview that the company depends on good designs to make sales, not on promotion. He added that the company would not accept orders for similar mobile homes if they are for personal use.

Liu Qinglong, a professor from the School of Public Policy and Management at Tsinghua University, said people should keep an open mind about Dai and his mobile home.

"At least it shows the creativity of young people and the diversity of a modern society," he said.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Cracks appear in 'egg home' story as compact house disappears

About the broadcaster:

Cracks appear in 'egg home' story as compact house disappears

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.