In 2005 the Chinese government announced its plan to urbanize half of the remaining 700 million rural citizens by 2030. At the same time, Joshua Bolchover and John Lin set up Rural Urban Framework (RUF), a research and design collaborative based at The University of Hong Kong. Conducted as a non-profit organization providing design services to charities and NGOs working in China, RUF has built over 15 projects in diverse villages throughout China and Mongolia. The projects include schools, community centers, hospitals, village houses, bridges, and incremental planning strategies. As a result of this active engagement, RUF has been able to research the links between social, economic, political processes and the physical transformation of each village. The projects integrate local and traditional construction practices with contemporary technologies.
RUF is the recipient of numerous international awards including the RIBA International Emerging Architect Award 2016, The Curry Stone Design Prize in 2015 and the Ralph Erskine 100 Years Anniversary Award 2014, given for innovation in architecture that “primarily benefits the less privileged in society”. RUF is also the winner of Architectural Records Design Vanguard and the ICON Award Emerging Architectural Practice of the Year in 2013.
A recently edited issue of AD Designing the Rural: A Global Countryside in Flux, looks at the challenges facing the rural from the perspective of both developing and developed countries. Rural Urban Framework: Transforming the Chinese Countryside (Birkhauser, 2013), presents the research and projects of RUF in over 18 villages in China, discussing not only successful projects, but failures and speculations on the changes in rural China since 2006. An edited book, Homecoming: Materializing, Contextualizing and Practicing the Rural in China (Gestalten 2013), collects the work of historians, theorists, educators and practitioners to discuss the role of the rural in Chinese urban development over the past 30 years. Recent exhibitions include Settling the Nomads, in the Venice Biennale 2016, in the Chicago Biennial in 2015, and the Milan Triennale International exhibition 2016 and in Fear and Love at the London Design Museum in 2016.
Joshua Bolchover and John Lin are currently Associate Professors at the University of Hong Kong and have taught and lectured in numerous academic institutions including the Chinese University of Hong Kong; The Bartlett, UCL; Cambridge University and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.
This lecture has been approved for 1 LU/HSW by AIA Chicago