After graduating from college and landing a job with an architectural design firm, 24-year-old Dai Haifei was having a hard time shelling out enough money each month to pay his rent.
So he did what anyone would do when trying to cut costs -- he constructed an egg-shaped abode in the courtyard just outside his office in the city's Haidian District, according to TheEpochTimes.com.
Dai borrowed about $960 from his family to buy materials for the 6-foot-tall bamboo home. After three months of work nailing together woven bamboo boards, installing solar panels to provide electricity, waterproofing the structure, attaching insulation and adorning the exterior with sacks filled grass seeds, he moved into his new pad.
It was a modest apartment, to say the least. Dai slept on a narrow 3-foot-wide bed and decorated the residence with just a nightstand, several books and photos, and a few other essentials.
There was no kitchen in the home -- so he ate out. Although there was a water tank and a wash basin, the apartment had no shower -- so he used one at the gym.
A skylight at the top provided light, and a hatch on the side allowed him to enter and exit the egg, which was just beginning to sprout grass on its exterior.
It might sound like a bird-brained idea, but by moving into the egg-shaped house Dai was able to eliminate his rent and commuting costs, he wrote in a blog quoted by the website MNN.com.
I can get to work within seconds, no need to be on the crowded bus. This is considered a luxury in the traffic congested Beijing. I used the money I saved up from not paying rent to pay for an annual pass of a swimming gym, so I can go swimming, also take showers and go to sauna there. I don't have a kitchen in the house, so I became a frequent visitor of the local restaurants around work. No need to make meals also saved me a lot of time. In the weekends, I can go the local coffee shops with a book or I can ride my bike around the neighborhood alleys. When the house is simplified to just one bed, other than sleeping in it, other things are taken care of in public places, this is a free lifestyle.
Dai told TheEpochTimes.com that he enjoyed living in the egg, which was inspired by similar eggs designed by his firm for a biennial expo. He also saw his home as a piece of social commentary on the high housing costs in Beijing, and perhaps -- with more refinement -- a model for improving the quality of life in his city with green, sustainable housing.
But Beijing authorities begged to differ. On Dec. 1, a representative with the Haidian District Urban Management Division told the paper that any roadside structure without a building permit would be considered "unauthorized construction" and would be subject to removal.
Officials reportedly ordered the egg to be taken down on Dec. 3, and the shell-shaped residence was wheeled away.
Dai didn't say much about the loss of his egg-shaped home, telling English.PeopleDaily.com that he is now living with friends.
But the egg house has found a fan base on the Internet, meaning that the Beijing authorities who ordered the home's removal could turn out to be the ones with egg on their faces.