Architecture

This home could be built using a hex key in under 24 hours

This home could be built using...
Mrs. Fan's Plugin House cost the equivalent of around US$10,000, which PAO says is 30 times cheaper than a typical Beijing apartment
Mrs. Fan's Plugin House cost the equivalent of around US$10,000, which PAO says is 30 times cheaper than a typical Beijing apartment
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We often associate PAO with off-the-wall concepts like the ventilation shaft housing and tricycle RV, but it also has a more practical side, as shown by Mrs. Fan's Plugin House
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We often associate PAO with off-the-wall concepts like the ventilation shaft housing and tricycle RV, but it also has a more practical side, as shown by Mrs. Fan's Plugin House
PAO was recently hired by the Chinese government to build a dozen low-cost prefabricated homes
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PAO was recently hired by the Chinese government to build a dozen low-cost prefabricated homes
As there's no sewage pipes in the area, most homes share toilets, but PAO inserted an off-grid composting toilet in Mrs. Fan's Plugin House
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As there's no sewage pipes in the area, most homes share toilets, but PAO inserted an off-grid composting toilet in Mrs. Fan's Plugin House
Inside,  Mrs. Fan's Plugin House measures 27.8 Sq. m (299 sq ft) and includes a double-height lounge and kitchen
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Inside,  Mrs. Fan's Plugin House measures 27.8 Sq. m (299 sq ft) and includes a double-height lounge and kitchen
Mrs. Fan's Plugin House was commissioned  by a young married woman
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Mrs. Fan's Plugin House was commissioned  by a young married woman
Mrs. Fan is claustrophobic so PAO made sure to install high ceilings and lots of glazing
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Mrs. Fan is claustrophobic so PAO made sure to install high ceilings and lots of glazing
A roof deck offers some outdoor space atop Mrs. Fan's Plugin House
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A roof deck offers some outdoor space atop Mrs. Fan's Plugin House
Skylights help increase natural daylight inside Mrs. Fan's Plugin House
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Skylights help increase natural daylight inside Mrs. Fan's Plugin House
Mrs. Fan's Plugin House is based in the Changchun Jie neighborhood, Beijing
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Mrs. Fan's Plugin House is based in the Changchun Jie neighborhood, Beijing
The existing home was mostly knocked down
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The existing home was mostly knocked down
According to PAO, construction could be handled by a couple of people in a day 
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According to PAO, construction could be handled by a couple of people in a day 
Overall, the home cost the equivalent of around US$10,000, which PAO says is around 30 times cheaper than a typical Beijing apartment
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Overall, the home cost the equivalent of around US$10,000, which PAO says is around 30 times cheaper than a typical Beijing apartment
Mrs. Fan's Plugin House comprises prefabricated modules that squeeze insulation, interior and exterior finish, wiring and plumbing into one molded part
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Mrs. Fan's Plugin House comprises prefabricated modules that squeeze insulation, interior and exterior finish, wiring and plumbing into one molded part
Skylights help increase natural daylight inside Mrs. Fan's Plugin House
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Skylights help increase natural daylight inside Mrs. Fan's Plugin House
View towards Mrs. Fan's Plugin House from neighboring rooftop
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View towards Mrs. Fan's Plugin House from neighboring rooftop
The shape and dimensions of Mrs. Fan's Plugin House are informed by the concern of not blocking the neighbor's view or ventilation
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The shape and dimensions of Mrs. Fan's Plugin House are informed by the concern of not blocking the neighbor's view or ventilation
Mrs. Fan's Plugin House cost the equivalent of around US$10,000, which PAO says is 30 times cheaper than a typical Beijing apartment
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Mrs. Fan's Plugin House cost the equivalent of around US$10,000, which PAO says is 30 times cheaper than a typical Beijing apartment

Building space is increasingly at a premium in central Beijing and even cramped apartments can fetch a small fortune, but China's People's Architecture Office (PAO) recently completed a new home for a first-time buyer for just US$10,000. Based on the firm's patented prefabricated panel system, Mrs. Fan's Plugin House was assembled by a small team in just a few hours, but has the potential to be constructed by a couple of unskilled people in as little as 24 hours using a single hex key.

Mrs. Fan's Plugin House was commissioned by a young woman who wanted to live in her parents' former courtyard house, but the existing home was very dilapidated, cramped and dark. PAO partly knocked down the old structure and inserted the new prefab to expand what was left. So, though it could serve as a standalone home, in this case it's really an extension and renovation.

The home is based on the same prefab technology used in the Plugin Tower and comprises modules with insulation, interior and exterior finish, wiring and plumbing all squeezed into one molded part. The modules attach to each other with an integrated locking system tightened by hex key.

According to PAO, constructing the basic home (not including the furniture, etc) can be tackled by a couple of untrained people within 24 hours.

We often associate PAO with off-the-wall concepts like the ventilation shaft housing and tricycle RV, but it also has a more practical side, as shown by Mrs. Fan's Plugin House
We often associate PAO with off-the-wall concepts like the ventilation shaft housing and tricycle RV, but it also has a more practical side, as shown by Mrs. Fan's Plugin House

PAO says that the $10,000 total cost makes the home around 30 times cheaper than a typical Beijing apartment. It's not clear if this takes into account the existing land and the dilapidated home which was used as a base, but either way it's definitely inexpensive.

The interior floorspace measures 27.8 sq m (299 sq ft) and includes a double-height lounge and kitchen, a nice little roof deck, and carefully-placed glazing to ensure ample natural daylight. The local area has no sewage system, so while most homes make use of shared public toilets, PAO inserted a composting toilet and shower.

The unusual shape of Mrs. Fan's Plugin House is informed by the need to not disrupt the neighbors view and ventilation and even as it was being built, neighbors asked for changes to be made on the spot, which were duly carried out.

The video below shows some more information on the project.

Source: PAO

Mrs. Fan's Plugin House

8 comments
drhall
Absolutely perfect ... utilizing previously unusable lots and cityscapes! Price is great and function reminds of the Volkswagen "Beetle" disruptive auto technology. Congratulations Ms. Fan! don hall / bearcreekresearch
Island Architect
What in God's name has made complexity a virtue?
Bob Flint
The scrounged material of the neighbors costs nothing, it looks like demolition material held together with nails, & some wire....
Tom Lee Mullins
I think that is really neat.
ljaques
Hey, cute little bungalow. I love the deck idea, don't like the high ceiling much. The price is where it should be, though. Finally! BUT, I can see it now: An American company imports them and sells them, installed here in the States, for only $199k.
butkus
"... has the potential to be constructed by a couple of unskilled people in as little as 24 hours using a single hex key." What if those unskilled people got their own hex key instead of sharing a single one? Might push the price beyond 10k though.
RobertACorfield
How can I order one? Would make an awesome home for someone like me.
GlassHalfEmpty
It is space that costs, not the rumble. So, when all said and done, buying space and putting this thing in will still be 300K.