CHINA / SOCIETY
Dream house flopped: TV show questioned over bill of $203,000 to farmer for home renovation with the 'ugliest design in history'
Published: Nov 22, 2021 11:20 PM
The house after renovation Photo: Screenshot of Weibo video

The house after renovation Photo: Screenshot of Weibo video


A popular TV show in China on home renovations that has run for seven years, featuring renowned designers, recently came under fire on Chinese social media with netizens slamming the makeover of an earth house in a village as "the worst in history," as it flouted the original intention of the owner and left him with a bill of 1.3 million yuan ($203,700) for rebuilding the house. 

The TV producer apologized on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo on Sunday and explained that the scenes aired were incomplete due to the epidemic flareup and low temperatures in the area. The project will continue next spring and the producer will split the cost with the house owner. 

The house after renovation Photo: Screenshot of Weibo video

The house after renovation Photo: Screenshot of Weibo video


The questioned episode titled, Rural Earth House in Gansu Reconstructed into Dreamy Idyllic Residence was aired on Friday. It featured Du Xingchang, a 68-year-old farmer in a village in Northwest China's Gansu Province, who sent five of his children to the city but stayed in the village with his wife. 

"Maybe the kids are willing to come back after they retire if I remodel the house a bit nicer," Du said in the show's episode, adding that "a person cannot lose one's root." 

The house was a typical rural courtyard in Northwest China built 40 years ago. The production of the show entrusted the renovation project to an architect surnamed Tao, graduate and current teacher at the Central Academy of Fine Arts.

Tao expressed confidence in his design, saying that he also grew up in the countryside and knows the lifestyle of farmers.

However, Tao's work, which he introduced as a modern building formed simply from bricks and concrete, drew huge controversy among Chinese netizens who slammed the design calling it "artless, inconvenient, and most of all, overpriced."

The total cost of the renovation, which will mainly be paid by the house owner, totaled about 1.3 million yuan, which is equivalent to the price of a villa with a courtyard in some cities, according to media. 

In addition, the project did not follow Du's original intention of rebuilding it into a two-story Western-style villa, which he had told the designer before the house makeover. 

On Sunday, Tao's design studio responded to the controversy, saying that the design was fully and continuously discussed with the owner throughout the process, and that its considerations differ from pure interior designs as they are "looking at the issue of rural construction from a global and forward-looking perspective."

In his previous works, Tao has used raw materials such as concrete and wood without too many decorations to demonstrate the beauty of spatial structures through light and shadows.

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