Often lost among the headlines about China's astonishing development has been a growing interest in the corresponding transformation of the Chinese countryside. At the forefront of architectural research and experimentation in this area is Rural Urban Framework (RUF), a studio headed by University of Hong Kong professors Joshua Bolchover and John Lin.
Since 2006, Bolchover and Lin, who originally hail from England and Taiwan, respectively, have been working with nonprofit organizations, private donors, and local governments on projects in villages throughout China. In Qinmo, in southern Guangdong province, they converted a disused school building into a community center, complete with a demonstration farm. In northern Shaanxi province, their Lingzidi bridge spans a small river to better connect local residents with agricultural fields, while accommodating washing, fishing, and small-truck access.
“Nowadays, 50 percent of the world lives in cities,” says Lin. “But we're interested in the other 50 percent—especially in China, one of the most intensively urban and intensively rural places in the world.”