Seeking a rent-free, off-the-grid lifestyle? Like many, 24-year-old architect Dai Haifei was struggling to pay his rent in one of the most densely populated and expensive cities in the world, Beijing, China. His new innovative home comes in the form of a mobile egg-shaped shelter which relies on solar power for energy and cost him just under $1,000 (USD) to build.

The entire structure stands at a humble 6 feet tall and is compact enough to fit on most city sidewalks. The main frame is made from bamboo strips, wood chippings, and sack bags. A lamp inside the mobile pod is charged by a solar panel installed on the roof. A layer of grass seed adorns the roof and will eventually form a green, insulating cover in the spring. There are many technical aspects of the house that are less than desirable and leave room for improvement such as waste disposal and heat preservation. This design was nominated for the second annual China Architecture Media Awards

In a journal posted on China Daily, Dai notes “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.”

At the moment, Haifei has been ordered to remove his house from the street, reports the China Daily. It adds: “Haifei is crashing with a friend, and weighing his options. Fortunately, he still has his job, and his firm (which must be impressed by his ingenuity) has kept the egg house.”

See the project’s entire process on flickr

Source: USA Today, China Hush