Chinese architecture firm Wutopia Lab has created ‘His House and Her House’, two painted large-scale installations as part of an architecture biennale in Shenzhen. The two houses, each painted pink and blue, represent the broader cultural framework for how masculinity and femininity are perceived in China, as well as their conceptual relationship to food.
Situated in Dameisha Village, an urban slum in Shenzhen, the colored houses stand in stark visual contrast to their surroundings. As explained on the architect’s website, the concept was derived from the notion that in China, public kitchens such as restaurants are supposedly the domain of men, while private domestic kitchens are mostly managed by women. The interior of ‘His House’ is painted in green and blue, a reference to the color palette of French painter Henri Matisse. ‘His House’ has a salt floor meditation room and rashers of bacon hanging from the roof. ‘Her House’ distills what Wutopia Lab considers feminine energy, with an all pink facade complete with a rock salt patio. Various rooms inside cater for stereotypically feminine pursuits, such as afternoon tea. The architects’ intention was to celebrate the differences in gender expression, however, the project has drawn criticism from the west for its reinforcement of gender stereotypes.