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Chinese Human Snail Carries His Home on His Back Wherever He Goes

38-year-old Liu Lingchao is a real-life human snail who carries his 60-kg-heavy house on his back wherever he goes. Made of bamboo poles and plastic sheets, the portable home provides shelter on Liu’s long travels through China.

Liu Lingchao makes a living selling plastic bottle and metal cans he picks up from the streets of various Chinese cities. The man from Rong’an, Guangdong Province, built his first mobile home five years ago, as a way to save money on his long journeys, and for protection against rain and cold weather. Liu found life as a snail to his liking, and has since then worn out three bamboo huts. His newest one is 1.5 meters wide and and 2.2 meters tall, offering him just enough room for a modest bedding and his travel necessities. Its 60 kg weight is not exactly easy for one man to carry, so Liu really is moving at the pace of a snail along China’s roads, but it beats having to look for shelter wherever he goes, and says the fact that he can settle down virtually anywhere he wants is worth the effort. The human snail left Wuzhou City several months ago, and is now just 20 miles away from completing an epic 270-mile walk and returning to his home town.

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Ultimate Privacy – The House Built in the Middle of a River

Have you ever dreamed of having a home in the middle of nowhere to escape to every now and then? I have. And this house built straight in the middle of the Drina River in Serbia fits the bill perfectly.

Standing on an exposed rock bang in the center of the river, near the town of Bajina Basta, this tiny house has been getting a lot of attention on the internet ever since it was captured on camera last year by Hungarian photographer Irene Becker. Her photo was published by National Geographic as one of the best ‘Photos of the Day’ in August 2012, and ever since then the mysterious and tranquil abode of Drina River has captured the imagination of millions. “I’m so glad that my picture makes this tiny house known to more and more people,” Becker said about her work. But in Serbia, the precariously placed house has been a popular tourist destination for decades, and a symbol of the picturesque Basta region. It was even nominated as one of the Seven Wonders of Serbia.

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Dark Side of Hong Kong – People Living in Metal Cages

Hong Kong is generally known the world over for its material comforts and affluent lifestyle. But there’s a dark  it as well that not many are aware of. Parallel to the wealthy citizens of Hong Kong there exists a community that is unable to cope with skyrocketing housing prices. These people are quite literally forced to live in tiny metal cages.

What’s worse is that the cages don’t come for free either. Stacked on top of each other, the 1.5 sq m enclosuress can be rented at a price of 1,300 Hong Kong dollars (about US $167) per month. These cages are crammed into a single dilapidated apartment in a working-class neighborhood in West Kowloon. Believe it or not, these metal living quarters are home to a whopping 100,000 people, according to statistics provided by a social welfare group called the Society for Community Organization. Other types of inadequate housing include apartments subdivided into tiny cubicles or filled with coffin-sized wood and metal sleeping compartments as well as rooftop shacks. Only two toilet stalls are available in each apartment and have to be shared by hundreds of single, elderly men, who make up the majority of the cage-occupants. No kitchen as such is provided; there’s only a small room with a sink. Almost all the men wash their clothes in a bucket. Instead of using mattresses, the men use thin pads, bamboo mats or old linoleum in their cages to keep the bedbugs away.

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Would You Pay $600 a Month to Live in a Human Locker Room?

It’s no secret that Tokyo is one of the most crowded cities n the world. It’s also got some of the smallest apartments in the world, but a recent news program showed this whole housing problem is getting ridiculous. People are paying huge rents to live in coffin-sized apartments.

Just looking at photos of these locker room apartments in the Tokyo’s Shibuya district is enough to make anyone feel claustrophobic. And yet there are people willing to pay as much as ¥55,000 a month ($586) a month to live in them. Granted, most of them are probably just young professionals who spend most of their time at work and outdoors, using these tiny accommodations just for sleeping, but still, the fact that someone would pay that high a rent for this kind of living conditions is baffling. Apart from the obvious lack of space, these so-called “geki-sema share houses” are stacked on top of each other, and some don’t even have windows. The latest reactions to the video report show even Japanese people, who are used to small spaces, think these human locker rooms are insane.

Tokyo-small-apartment

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Family Is Literally Living under a Rock in the Mexican Desert

For the last three decades, Benito Hernandez and his wife have been living under a huge rock, in Mexico’s Coahuila Desert, 80 kilometers from the US border.

Benito Hernandez started visiting the 40 meter diameter rock that now serves as a roof for his sun-dried brick home when he was just eight years old. He liked it so much that he decided to one day make it his home. Many 8-year-olds have crazy dreams, but Benito’s followed him into adulthood. 55 years ago, when he and his family first discovered the remote rock formation, a man could claim a piece of land by settling on it for long periods of time, so during the many years they spent working in the area harvesting the Candelilla plant, he beat off other who would claim the rock for themselves and 20 years later he finally became its legal owner. He could finally build his dream house under the boulder that fascinated him all this time.

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California Water Tower Is Actually a Beautiful 3-Storey House

If you look at the structure located at 1 Anderson Street, Seal Beach, California, you can see nothing but an ordinary water tower. But after a closer inspection you’ll realize it’s not filled with water, but common household items. It was several years ago, when the 100-year-old 9-storeys-tall water tower with a capacity of 75,000 gallons had outlived its purpose and was going to be torn down that a few local architects began taking interest in the structure. The tower was originally used to service steam engines traveling on the California coast. After the trains stopped running, the water tower was rendered useless. It was in danger of being demolished in the 1980s, when the architects stepped in, got permits and converted the tower into a beautiful home.

The process of converting a century-old structure into a home was no easy feat. First, the original water tank had to be removed and placed in a parking lot. After 18 months of renovation, a skilled team of engineers worked together to lift it up and put it back in its original place. A commercial elevator and two jacuzzis were added as the final touches to the 3000 sq ft. house. One of the jacuzzi tubs is actually on the upper deck and provides a view of the ocean. Almost every window in the house is fitted with stained glass. There are also two master bedrooms, a maid’s quarters, and four bathrooms. One of the bathrooms has rotating walls, so you could enter in the bedroom and come out from the hallway. The entertainment room has a 360 degree view, a built-in movie theatre, electric blinds and an indoor fire pit. From one direction you get to see the Pacific Ocean and the Catalina Island, and from another you get a view of the Newport Beach, Long Beach, Port of Los Angeles, San Pedro and San Bernardino Mountains. On a clear day, you can even get a glimpse of Los Angeles.

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Chinese Motorway Built Around House Because Residents Refuse to Move

A half-demolished building stands in the middle of a new motorway in in the city of Wenling, China’s Zhejiang province, after its elderly residents refused to move.

Talk about an accident waiting to happen… Cars travelling at high speeds in the Chinese city of Wenling have to go around a building located right in the middle of a newly-built motorway. Luo Baogen and his wife refused to relocate, because they believed the compensation offered for relocating was not enough to cover the costs of rebuilding. So even though all their neighbors took the government’s deal, they stayed behind in the empty building. To ensure the structural integrity of the building, adjacent rooms in the building have been left intact. During most of the Communist era, private ownership of property was abolished, so it was easy to relocate people, but nowadays the new laws make it illegal to demolish a building until an agreement is reached with all its owners. Although the five-storey structure was affected by all the heavy machinery operating in the area during the construction of the motorway, the old Chinese couple have no intention of moving away. Luckily for them, traffic is pretty light, because the new road has not yet been officially opened, but once that happens, the noise alone will probably be too hard to bare, not to mention the danger of crossing the street.

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For English Family Living in the Middle of a Cemetery Every Day Is Halloween

Would you be brave enough to spend a night in an old mortuary chapel surrounded by dozens of graves? One English family is more than happy to sleep in such a house every night, and say it’s actually their dream home.

Jayne Stead and partner Mike Blatchford didn’t seem to mind the creepy graves and spooky statues when they decided to move into an old cemetery keeper’s lodge, in Southampton, England. The cemetery didn’t put us off. We don’t spook easily, in fact I love watching scary films and television shows,” 52-year-old Jayne told reporters. When we first had a look around it was really run down, there were graves everywhere but it never really felt scary, there was very nice feeling about the place.” Self-employed builder Mike Bletchford spend a whole year and about £100,000 ($160,000) turning the chapel into a home for his family, and today you couldn’t tell the living room was once a mortuary… But, while they’ve never seen a ghost in their unusual home, the couple admit they have witnessed some bizarre occurrences:  “I’ve been sitting on my own in the living room and I’ve felt like there was someone standing behind me a few times,” Ms Stead said. “I’ve also found the dog barking at nothing in the corner of the room, but it’s not scary.”

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Chinese Family Turn Abandoned Toilet into Cozy Home

“There’s no place like home!”, I believe the saying goes, and this modest migrant family from China proves it applies even when home is an abandoned public toilet in the city of Shenyang.

Zeng Lingjun was born in a small village, in the Jilin Province of Northeastern China. As a boy, he dreamed of one day attending college, but because his family was too poor he had to abandon his dream and settle for becoming a cobbler and repair shoes for a living. But just because he couldn’t afford to go to college, didn’t mean he was willing to spend the rest of his life in his village. He had bigger plans for himself, so one day, with just 50 yuan ($8) in his pocket, he left for Shenyang, the biggest city in northeast China. Being a hard worker and a skilled cobbler helped Zeng make a living in the big city, and he was soon earning around 2,000 yuan (315) per month. But this wasn’t enough for him to get his own place.

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Chinese Couple Convert Cargo Truck into Mobile Home

Unable to buy a real house, a young couple in Kunming, China, have opted to convert a small cargo truck into a comfy mobile home.

It’s hard to imagine someone living comfortably in the back of a truck, but the high housing prices in China have forced young people to be resourceful and find all kinds of original alternatives. Last year, a young Chinese student from Beijing built himself a sustainable egg-house from bamboo and insulating materials, and now a young couple have turned a cargo truck into an 8.5-square-meter living space.

It’s not the spaciest home ever built, but it features just about everything anyone needs to live a decent life, including a small kitchen with a sink and electric stove, bunk-beds, refrigerator, flat screen TV and even a computer. The only thing that isn’t shown in the photos is also one of the most important – the toilet, but, even if they haven’t improvised one on their truck, I’m sure they have some way of dealing with personal hygiene.

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Ingenious Architect Uses Aluminum Cans as Shingles for His House

Richard Van Os Keuls has used flattened aluminum soda and beer cans as siding for his plywood house extension, after deciding conventional materials were too expensive.

Van Os Keuls, an architect from Silver Spring, Maryland, first got the idea of incorporating flattened aluminum cans into his trade after seeing a car drive over a discarded soda can. He thought to himself that it would make a pretty decent aluminum shingle, so he began building his own stash of old cans to experiment with, at a later time. That time came around when he finished the plywood extension on his house, and began looking for a cheap material to side it with.

The ingenious architect admits his idea of using aluminum cans has nothing to do with art or the environment, as he was simply looking for a cheap and durable alternative to conventional siding materials. Wearing heavy construction boots, Richard first stomped on the cans and then flattened them even further with a sledgehammer, rounding the corners so people wouldn’t get cut when leaning up against the house. He found that flattening each can was time-consuming, so he started working on several at a time. When they were ready to be placed on the wall, he would place 30-40 cans overlapping each other and secure them with a long aluminum nail.

At first, he wanted to paint over the cans, but as the siding started to take place, the color mosaic looked better and better, and he even made sure that no no two same color cans were put together. He began ordering cheap colorful beer and soda cans from other countries, just because he wanted as many different colors as possible. But he needed a lot more cans than he could buy, if he was to complete the siding, so he tried to collect more from the neighborhood dump. That got him cited twice, and earned him fines for theft of city property and transporting stolen property, so he had to rely on donations from neighbors.

When he finally completed his unique project, Richard Van Os Keuls’ house was covered by around 22,000 flattened aluminum cans. He says they aren’t noisy when it rains, and while aluminum tends to develop a chalky oxidation, the ink on the cans has significantly slowed up the process, so his can-covered home is still a colorful inspiration to architects and designers around the world.

 

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Chinese Student Builds Sustainable Egg House

Daihai Fei, a young Chinese designer, has built himself a sustainable egg-shaped house and spent the last two months living in it.

Originally from Hunan, 24-year-old Daihai Fei came to Beijing to attend the university and make a future for himself. Now, just six months after graduation, he has become somewhat of a local celebrity, after people started noticing he lives in an egg. Rents in China’s capital are very high, so living in a conventional home meant Daihai had to spend most of his income on rent, and that was not an option for this resourceful designer. In just two months time, and with a budget of only 6,400 yuan ($960), Daihai Fei managed to build his very own mobile home.

Daihai Fei built his amazing egg-house on a bamboo frame, covered with various insulating materials, and topped with a layer of stitched bag. The bags themselves are filled with sawdust and grass seeds, which he sprays with water regularly, to help the grass grow faster. Inspired by the grass-covered roofs of Norway, he knows the grass will over greater protection for his home. On the inside, he has all the necessary facilities, including a bed, a small sink, a lamp powered by a small solar panel and even a tiny bookshelf.

Using very cheap materials the designer built his wacky-looking egg house, and after two months of living in it, he says his quality of life greatly improved. He doesn’t have to worry about paying any rent, he has enough money to go out for coffee or a soda, occasionally, and since he’s moved his egg-house right across from his workplace, he doesn’t spend anything on bus fair. If you’re wondering about Daihai’s hygiene, you should know he’s very careful with his earnings, making sure he always has enough to go swimming, every day after work, where also takes a shower.

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The Architectural Experiments of Terunobu Fujimori

Some of his works may not even look like real houses, but Terunobu Fujimori is one of the world’s most acclaimed architectural designers. His unconventional works have been displayed all around the world, and, believe it or not, people actually want to live in his houses.

A historian by trade, Terunobu Fujimori started designing buildings late in his life, when he was 44. He was asked to design a history museum for a family from his local village, near Nagano, who had ancient ties to that place. He decided to build something completely uncobventional, in order to avoid being criticized for lack of originality, and his creation was a success.

Since then, Terunobu Fujimori has been delivering one fascinating house after another, at a rate of a house per year. Using his knowledge of Japanese architectural history and his designer talents, Terunobu Fujimori manages to create unique buildings that are ecologically sensitive and energy efficient.

The way Terunobu Fujimori designs and builds his houses is as unconventional as they look. He simply takes a tree stump and starts hacking away at it with a chainsaw, until he gets a rough model of what he plans to build. Then he invites his clients to his Too-High Tea House, standing 20 meters into the air, on two forked tree trunks, and shows them his designs. If they don’t like them, he simply shakes the house until he gets a positive answer. Galleries have offered to buy his tree stump models, but he always refused to sell them.

Although he relies on professionals for the structural and electrical installations on his houses, he handles most of the interior design, with a team of friends. He never pays them for their work, as that would be labor.

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Compact House Is Shaped Like a Compact Car

On the border of a nature preserve, near Salzburg, Austria, lies one of the weirdest looking homes in the world – the Voglereiter Auto Residence.

Designed by Markus Voglereiter, this unusual home looks a lot like an old Volkswagen Beetle. It might look funny to some of you, but transforming a 70’s style suburban home into car-shaped house was no joke, especially sine it required creating two separate dwelling for parents and children, while implementing efficient heating and insulation techniques. Not to mention respecting legal building and design codes.

But in the end, Markus Voglereiter managed to create a unique residence, both on the outside and on the. The interior of the car-shaped house also features auto-themed styling, like the springs on the metal staircase. All in all, a fascinating structure, the Volgereiter Auto Residence has already become somewhat of a tourist attraction.

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Minister’s House – The World’s Biggest Treehouse

I’ve seen some pretty bizarre-but-impressive treehouses in my day, but the Minister’s House is by far the most impressive, if only through its sheer size.

Located in Crossville, Tennessee, the Minister’s House took Horace Burgess 14 years to build around an 80-foot-tall white oak tree, with a diameter of 12 feet. The wooden edifice itself is 97-feet-tall and it’s supported by six other strong trees that act like natural pillars.

Burgess says he started working on this giant treehouse after he had a vision back in 1993. God spoke to him and said: “If you build me a

treehouse, I’ll see you never run out of material.” And so he spent the next 14 years building God’s treehouse, using only salvaged materials, like pieces of lumber from garages, storage sheds and barns. So, as far as Horace is concerned, God did provide him with all the materials he needed.
Although he never bothered to measure Minister’s House (he estimates it must be about 8,000 to 10,000 square feet), he did count the nails he had to hammer into it, 258,000. It cost the 56-year-old landscape architect around $12,000 to construct the world’s biggest treehouse.

400-500 people visit Minister’s House every week, most of them tourists from out of state who heard about a 10-story-treehouse somewhere in Tennessee.

I found the photos on this obscure Hungarian site, but I doubt they actually own them. If you know who these belong to, let me know so I can credit them.

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