Five key projects by Dezeen Awards China judge Ting Yu

Shanghai-based architect Ting Yu has joined Dezeen Awards China 2023 as a judge. Here, he selects five projects that best reflect his work.

Husband and wife architecture duo Ting Yu and Min Ern co-founded architecture studio Wutopia Lab in 2013 and have since created a series of publicly recognisable landmark projects in the city of Shanghai.

“Wutopia Lab is an architecture studio that creates everyday miracles through magical realism,” Yu told Dezeen.

“We use our knowledge of Shanghai’s culture and lifestyle to push forward urban regeneration through architectural projects.”

Yu is currently working on several projects in Shanghai, including a vortex-like project at West Bund, a vertical city at Fuzhou Road, and a canyon-like building at Nanjing Road.

He also has two projects on the southern Chinese island of Hainan, which he says were designed as an “unexpected dream-like experience”.

Yu joins Dezeen Awards China 2023 judges

Dezeen Awards China 2023 launched in June in partnership with Bentley Motors. It is the first regional edition of Dezeen Awards, celebrating the best architecture, interiors and design in China.

We have announced ten out of fifteen Dezeen Awards China judges, including interior designer Ilse Crawford and Andre Fu, furniture designer Frank Chou, Design Shanghai event director Zhuo Tan, as well as architects Ma Yansong and Rossana Hu, who will be joining Yu on the architecture judging panel.

Entries close on Thursday 24 August. Submit your entry before midnight Beijing time on 24 August to avoid late entry fees.

Read on to find Yu’s views on the five projects that best represent his work.


Dezeen Awards China judge Ting Yu

Eight Tenths Garden, Shanghai, 2017

“We used duality to unfold the space. The garden outside represents complexity, while the building inside shows simplicity.

“The courtyards are contemporary Chinese courtyards, originated and refined from an artwork by Chinese painter Chou Ying. This refined aerial courtyard links the traditional on-ground garden.

“I created layers on the facade to make it a space rather than a piece of skin. We used perforated aluminium plates in the form of a folding fan to create a veil on the facade, blurring the interiors and exterior.”

Find out more about Eight Tenths Garden ›


Dezeen Awards China judge Ting Yu

His House and Her House, Shenzhen, 2018

“We didn’t change the layout of the basic structure of this building, but changed the connection between the spaces through the use of symbolic installations and colour.

“The principle of the urban village is to not be pretentious. The design had to be simple, the intention direct and the effect obvious.

“Painting in pink and blue had existed in the city as insulation materials or construction materials, such as coatings and steel roofing, for a long time.”

Find out more about His House and Her House ›


Dezeen Awards China judge Ting Yu

White Upland, Huzhou, 2021

“White Upland’s intention is to express some kind of pleasure, ease, or the lightness that can bear the weight of this world, detached from the narrative of materiality.

“It needs to be white. We used 108 white steel columns in three sizes to create this abstract forest.

“The forest has caves, hills, streams, waterfalls, theatres, rocks and highlands. Nature is rewritten by me in the dream world as delicate geometries, all in white. In the dappled light, we also encounter sunrise, fog and bonfires.”

Find out more about White Upland ›


Dezeen Awards China judge Ting Yu

Copper Blockhouse, Shanghai, 2023

“The name Copper Blockhouse is inspired by an air-raid shelter preserved on the project site.

“Nautical machinery and ships are huge metal objects, therefore, we decided to build the architecture entirely of metal, and copper was chosen in the end. I am superstitious and believe that a metal shell is strong enough to protect our frightened souls.

“There’s a gleaming stainless-steel space in the fortress – the cabin of the ship. It functions as a cafe, as well as a stage, with a kitchen and a bathroom.

“The grass on the north side of the fortress was designed as a huge black wading pool, while the Copper Blockhouse is presented as a submarine, emerging from the water surface like a shimmering whale, quietly, silently, rippling inside.”

Find out more about Copper Blockhouse ›


Dezeen Awards China judge Ting Yu

Deep Time Palace, Changchun, 2023

“We decided to embrace elegant curves and employ a series of rhetorical devices such as symbolism, metaphor and association.

“I made the decision to embark on a journey to the 1930s when early expressionism used to prevail, in order to liberate concrete from the confines of orderly moulds.

“When envisioning the space, I aimed to utilise the underground structure as a starting point to convey a sense of depth.

“The entire museum consists of three of these spatial nodes connected together, through which I sought to guide visitors in understanding the intricate connections between, life, history, environment, and society under the theme of Deep Time. ”

Find out more about Deep Time Palace ›

The photography is by CreatAR Images.

Dezeen Awards China 2023

Dezeen Awards China is the first regional edition of Dezeen Awards, to celebrate the best architecture, interiors and design in China. The annual awards are in partnership with Bentley Motors, as part of a wider collaboration that will see the brand work with Dezeen to support and inspire the next generation of design talent.

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