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Old house in tree must give way to new area

By  Xu Chi   (Shanghai Daily)

08:32, April 13, 2012

The treehouse stands amid rubble near Shenjiang Road in the Pudong New Area.(Photo by Dong Jun)

Amid the rubble, the retired solider takes a glance at his "little paradise" - a two-story house he built in a huge camphor tree but which now awaits demolition as an illegal building.

Climbing on the rusty iron staircase soaring straight up into the tree, visitors may be shocked to see the shady house covered by thick leaves 3 meters above the ground, alone in the ruins of a village razed years ago in a suburban section of the Pudong New Area.

Though the house has a size of only 14 square meters, it used to be equipped with beds, a television, bathroom, balcony and even a mahjong table.

Pipes and wires stretched through the windows to supply water and electricity for daily use.

A tiny stone bridge was there to link the house to the village over a small pond in the old days, but now the broken bridge crosses only a pile of rubble and garbage.

"In the old days, I would bring three villagers to climb on the second floor to play mahjong all night long, smokers could take a cigarette at the balcony overlooking the village," said 66-year-old Huang Chonggao, owner of the treehouse.

"Years after I finished the house in 2006, the camphor tree is still flourishing to wrap it inside its leaves," Huang said. "It's like the tree has given birth to the house and is taking care of it. So I named it the Pregnancy Pavilion."

The ex-soldier told Shanghai Daily that both of his hands were injured by bullet shells and bombs, but the injury didn't stop him from carving wood to kill time.

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