Homes can be expensive in Beijing, so a woman known as Mrs. Fan ended up living in a small and dilapidated house in the courtyard of her parent's residence outside the city. She still wanted to live near her family, but also desired a modern home at an affordable price.
After the People's Architecture Office (PAO), a local firm, heard about her story, it designed her a Plug-in House in December 2016.
With just $10,000 worth of materials and a hex wrench, a construction team can build the Plug-in House in less than 24 hours, PAO's principal, James Shen, tells Business Insider. The pre-fab home features a proprietary design that's similar to a renovation system the firm designed in early 2016.
Check it out below.
The home is located in Changchun Jie, a small town outside Beijing, China.
Mrs. Fan lives there with her son. They used to live in a one-story house on the site, but it was falling apart. That home was demolished before the Plug-in House's construction. Here's a before and after.
The Plug-in House is much more modern.
It features a kitchen that connects to a living room, two small bedrooms, and a bathroom.
The interior lets in a lot of natural light.
Even the shower has a skylight.
Steps on the side of the house lead to a roof deck.
Anyone can construct a Plug-in House "The structure is built without any machinery and does not require specialized labor," Shen says.
It's made of dozens of panels that connect with one tool: a hex wrench.
Its construction doesn't require much skilled labor, and the panels are cut off-site to reduce cost.
The Plug-in House's construction is similar to that of PAO's Courtyard House, a ready-made retrofit launched in 2016 that updates homes while still preserving historical style.
Unlike the Courtyard Houses, 20 of whichsubsidized by the Beijing government, the first Plug-in home was funded by Mrs. Fan.
So far, the PAO has built two Plug-in homes, with plans for more.
Shen sees the project as a low-cost housing solution for residents who don't have a lot of money to spend on a new home. "Because the Plug-in House can be conveniently flat-packed, shipped, and put together, we can build it in remote locations that are usually difficult to build in," he says.