Cheap Chinese goods are a bit of a joke in America, but when a company manages to produce an entire house with the affordable price of just $10,000, the laughing stops. China’s People’s Architecture Office (PAO) recently built one of these new prefabricated homes for a first-time buyer known only as “Mrs. Fan.” The so-called Plugin House consists of a series of prefab panels that were assembled on-site by a small team in just a few hours using a hex key.
The $10,000 home is so simple to assemble that the work can be done by a relatively unskilled team—with a single hex key—in less than 24 hours. Mrs. Fan’s Plugin House is unique compared to most prefab homes in that respect, but it also breaks from the norm in that the structure actually extends an existing building. The homeowner is a young woman who wanted to live in the courtyard of her parents’ home, but an existing structure had already fallen into disrepair. By tearing down most of that building and installing the prefab home as an expansion, PAO demonstrated that these inexpensive, easy-up structures can be used in a variety of situations.
The Plugin House is a riff on PAO’s Plugin Tower – another home composed of prefabricated modules with insulation, interior and exterior finishes, and all the necessary wiring and plumbing. Plugin Tower’s modules use the same integrated locking system as the Plugin House – they’re tightened by a hex key, not unlike an Ikea bookcase.
It’s no surprise that the home is tiny, measuring just shy of 300 square feet, but that’s a sprawling mansion compared to cramped units in some of Beijing’s high-rise apartment buildings, which PAO says cost 30 times as much as this home. The double-height living area and a spacious kitchen turn the structure into a humble home, and the windows are glazed just so to draw in daylight, reducing the need for artificial lighting. Since the local area lacks a sewage system, Mrs. Fan’s Plugin House is also outfitted with a composting toilet and shower. A rooftop deck adds usable space and offers sprawling views of the city in the distance.
Via New Atlas
Images via PAO