Tiniest home ever? Beijing woman first to rent 21-square-foot space
Young professional is the first tenant in Beijing's $35-per-month capsule apartments, which are smaller than most closets.
Sun, May 16, 2010 at 10:39 AM
Among the ultra-green set, tiny homes are all the rage, popping up in various styles and configurations ranging from wooden sheds on wheels to modern glass 'fincubes'. But for some people who pack their bags and give extremely tiny living a try, affordability and convenience are far more motivating than a drive to save the planet.
It certainly wasn't a love for architecture that prompted 25-year-old Zhang Qi to become the first official tenant in Beijing's new “Capsule Apartments” according to ChinaHush.com.
Barely more than a stark-white closet with a chain-link ceiling, each 2-square-meter space costs just $35 monthly and fits only a single twin-size bed and a wall shelf. Built for the poor, who can't afford China's soaring housing costs, these apartments may just be the hip new enclave for China's young professionals.
After they were constructed in April 2010, not a single person came by to inquire about living in these cramped living quarters — so architect Huang Rixin decided to open them up for “test living”, allowing potential tenants to get a feel for what it's really like to to live in a space so small that you can't stand up in your own home.
The testers all left, one by one, but Zhang Qi unpacked her suitcase and personalized her space with fabric and decided she'd like to stay. After all, she's paying a quarter of her previous Beijing rent for an apartment shared with others. Now she has her independence, and she can send extra money to her widowed mother.
“This is my own space; you can put up your own photos, feels kind of successful,” she told China Hush. “People are born equal; living here does not mean the future will not be good, maybe a lot of artists will appear here!”
Her space may be unbearably small by Western standards, and she does have to share a bathroom with the other seven units, but Zhang Qi is cheerful, seen smiling in photos on ChinaHush.com as she hangs paintings and reclines on her bed.
Though she hasn't told her family about her new living space, she's sure that her friends will approve, saying “wait till I finish decorating and I will invite them over. They even all think I am very 'hip'.”
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