wutopia lab converts disused barnyard into golden yellow haven in shanghai

wutopia lab converts disused barnyard into golden yellow haven in shanghai

‘golden barnayrd — cockaigne of everyman’ evokes a bountiful harvest land


chinese practice wutopia lab returns with the revival of an abandoned barnyard in chongming, shanghai — transforming the site into a colorful land art dubbed ‘cockaigne of everyman’. golden yellow permeable concrete evoking a paddy field, with dark red lines, form an everlasting barnyard scene. some parts are divided into blocks while others are scalloped — and in the open areas, the terrain rises slightly, forming a ‘grain pile’ with undulating heights on which to stand. looking at the entire site, one might think it is frozen at a particular ‘harvest’ time. 


on the project name, lead architect ting yu comments: ‘what we associate with the barnyard is a farm lifestyle and certain material fantasies of the time. in any case, the expression of the barnyard is simple and direct. so I decided to use the golden color to symbolize the harvest that never ends. I wanted the cockaigne to be a place of eternal leisure, superb food, and edible buildings.’

golden barnyard cockaigne of everyman 12
all images © CreatAR images



breathing new life into farm culture and local architecture


wutopia lab (see more here) has re-designed the site’s original gatehouse as a movable time capsule commemorating the reed-built dwellings of chongming island. additionally, the existing warehouse storing farm equipment now features a new concrete façade and serves as an auxiliary room for the ‘cockaigne of everyman’. 


yu has also retained the rest of the barn’s original form, including that of a two-story dormitory building. he merely replaced its facade with cream polycarbonate panels to create the ‘bright milk house,’ a multifunctional R&D space where local manufacturing brand ‘bright food group‘ can display its agricultural products (the project site belongs to an outpost of that company). 

wutopia lab converts disused barnyard into golden yellow haven in shanghai



reaching the end of the site, the team re-imagined the existing toilets as capsules from the future, gently contrasting the golden barnyard’s more traditional structures. ‘different materials of the building, like different memories, are scattered in this yellow cereal field, and every time you enter one, it seems to trigger a story of other times waiting to be explored by you,’ concludes the architect. 


‘cockaigne of everyman’ is the third work in wutopia lab’s series of converted spaces that serve as havens for ‘ordinary people’. you can check out the practice’s two previous projects here: ‘memorial of everyman‘ & ‘shrine of everyman‘. golden barnyard cockaigne of everyman 8

golden barnyard cockaigne of everyman 2

golden barnyard cockaigne of everyman 10

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project info:


name: golden barnyard — cockaigne of everyman
location: chongming, shanghai, china

design dates: 07.2020-08.2020
built date: 10.2021
site area: 8,400 sqm
built area: 1,500 sqm

architecture wutopia lab

lead architect: ting yu

project architect: hao li

client: shanghai qianyi agricultural development co., ltd. 

design team: raven xu, ziheng li, zhizheng wang, zhihao lin

construction design: shanghai zhumeng architectural design co., ltd. 

installation: shanghai longma 

lighting consultant: chenlu  zhang
building materials: sunlight panel, steel, concrete, brick, colored pervious concrete

photography: CreatAR images



designboom has received this project from our DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom

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