Nail Houses: Lone Chinese Homes, When the Owners Won’t Move for New Development

China's Nail Houses 1

It’s not often that we think of China when it comes to defending human rights, but that’s apparently the case with a unique Chinese phenomenon: the “Nail House.” These are homes where the resident refuses to move in order to make way for new construction. In extreme cases, builders are forced to work around the lone building, leaving single home monoliths standing in the midst of construction zones and even in the growing basements of skyscrapers.

This isn’t a concept familiar to US or UK residents, where the government – or surprisingly, even individuals or corporations acting in the “public good” – can appropriate land under a claim of “eminent domain” or “compulsory purchase.” Although on the surface the Chinese system may appear more just, the land remaining to the unyielding resident is often shockingly useless. Just look at the towering piles of earth some buildings are left atop. Even a tall ladder would barely reach the top. In some cases metropolitan street corners are abruptly interrupted by the disheveled remains of a home, complete with laundry hanging from nearby street lights. In others, wide new streets are bisected by green gardens and a single house. Below are some of the best/worst examples of the bizarre Chinese trend.

China's Nail Houses 2

China's Nail Houses 3

China's Nail Houses 4

China's Nail Houses 5

China's Nail Houses 6

China's Nail Houses 10

China's Nail Houses 11

China's Nail Houses 12

China's Nail Houses 13

This one isn’t even a house, it’s a grave left towering in the center of a skyscraper basement.
China's Nail Houses 7

China's Nail Houses 8

China's Nail Houses 9

via lostateminor & io9

Benjamin Starr

Known in some circles as the most amazing man in the universe, he once saved an entire family of muskrats from a sinking, fire engulfed steamboat while recovering from two broken arms relating to a botched no-chute wingsuit landing in North Korea. When not impressing people with his humbling humility, he can be found freelance writing, finding shiny objects on the internet, enjoying the company of much-appreciated friends and living out his nomadic nature. He is Managing Editor of Visual News. Follow his movements on Twitter:

Promoted Content


  1. These pictures are hilarious but I totally understand the attachment to one’s own home above progress

Leave a comment

Please be polite. We appreciate that. Your email address will not be published and required fields are marked