Fei Zhao's Utopia: A Radiant Residential Design

Organic Space Practices Meet Innovative Architecture

Fei Zhao's award-winning residential design, Utopia, is a testament to the power of natural light and the beauty of organic space. This unique project, located in Zhengzhou, China, showcases an innovative approach to residential architecture, blending form and function in a truly remarkable way.

The inspiration for Utopia came from the radiant natural light that Zhao wanted to incorporate into the design. The aim was to create an organic, inclusive space that would be both aesthetically pleasing and functional. The design is unique in its use of a narrow north-south facing townhouse, which was transformed into an inward-facing construction. The result is a residential house that is unlike any other, with its sculptural, textural contrasts and lighthearted atmosphere.

One of the key challenges in realizing this design was the construction of the curved wall and the laminated cast-in-place revolving staircase. These elements required meticulous planning and precision, with the builders using ropes to locate the 2 layers connected to the basement at multiple points while positioning according to the drawings. The positioning method of the construction drawings was inspired by Toyo Ito’s contour grid positioning method.

The functional distribution of Utopia is another aspect that sets it apart. Each floor serves a specific purpose, with the 1st floor and the 2nd floor underground serving as public spaces, while the relatively independent 2nd floor serves as residential spaces. The staircase has been redesigned to provide a more comfortable connection of traffic flow between the functional areas on each level.

The project was completed between October 17th 2020 and August 1st 2021. The design process involved extensive research, focusing on the impact of light on the residential environment. This research included observation of the duration and direction of sunlight at the winter and summer solstices.

Utopia has been recognized for its innovative design, winning the Silver A' Interior Space, Retail and Exhibition Design Award in 2023. This prestigious award is given to designs that demonstrate outstanding expertise and innovation, and Utopia certainly fits the bill. With its unique approach to residential design, Fei Zhao's Utopia is a shining example of the potential of architecture to create spaces that are not only functional, but also beautiful and inspiring.

Project Details and Credits

Project Designers: Fei Zhao
Image Credits: Photographic institutions:WMstudio
Project Team Members: Designer: Ran Chen
Project Name: Utopia
Project Client: Fei Zhao

Utopia IMG #2
Utopia IMG #3
Utopia IMG #4
Utopia IMG #5
Utopia IMG #5

Read More on Design Radiant