Creative Chinese property owner fails to save his wonky house from demolition

Officials say 100 square metre, four-storey home built on 10 metre plot failed to meet safety standards and had to go

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 April, 2018, 1:39pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 April, 2018, 1:39pm

A creative homeowner in southern China who managed to build a 100 square metre house on a plot of land just a tenth of that size saw his hard work reduced to rubble last week as the local authorities sent in a wrecking crew.

The owner, who was not identified, achieved the feat by creating a quirky, four-storey structure that resembled a stack of increasingly capacious boxes, Shanghai-based news website Thepaper.cn reported on Saturday.

Unfortunately for him, the house, in Xinyi county, Maoming, a city in Guangdong province, did not impress the local housing officials, who ordered its demolition.

A television crew was on hand to film the property being pulled down on Wednesday.

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Wen Shaobing, deputy chief of the county’s housing and construction bureau, told reporters it was an illegal structure.

“There were quality issues, and a safety risk,” he said. “Our action is supported by the law.”

The owner defended his design, however, saying he had consulted an expert.

“A civil engineer has taken a look,” the man said. “He said our foundation can support up to five or six floors with no problem.”

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He said he dug especially deep foundations, and used reinforced concrete and bricks to ensure the property’s structural integrity. Also, the boxy upper floors were angled to maximise the balancing effect, like children’s building blocks, with the third storey having the largest floor area.

Regardless of its creativity, the local government said the owner of the house had not obtained approval for the design and had been asked to halt construction last year.

When he refused, the decision was taken to pull it down, the report said.

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Images of the building were widely circulated on Chinese social media and generally touted, in the face of soaring property prices, as a good example of how to make a little land go a long way.

“The house looks better than most buildings in our country,” one person wrote on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform.

“This is inevitable. Land has become so expensive, even in rural areas, it is increasing difficult to find space to build your own house,” said another.

The reports did not say if the owner planned to appeal against the demolition decision or if he would be entitled to any compensation.