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John Lin and Olivier Ottevaere

On the Boards:

Pinch, Sweep and Warp


Monograph Softcover Book and Limited Edition Box Set 

Projects and Text by John Lin and Olivier Ottevaere

Edited by Jonathan Dillon, and Charles Matz

In Production: Winter 2017-2018

John Lin is an architect based in Hong Kong and currently an Associate Professor at The University of Hong Kong. He was born in Taiwan and immigrated to the US in 1983. After studying in both the Art and Engineering programs at The Cooper Union in New York City, he received a professional degree in Architecture from The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union in 2002.


Mr. Lin is the director of Rural Urban Framework (RUF), a research and design platform, with co-director Joshua Bolchover. RUF is dedicated to developing sustainable prototypes for rapidly urbanizing areas. Their approach combines research into large scale processes of urbanization and integration of local construction practices with contemporary technology in built projects.


RUF is the recipient of numerous international awards, including 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 Record’s Design Vanguard and the ICON Award Emerging Architectural Practice of the Year in 2013. The “House For All Seasons”, a rural house prototype built in Shaanxi Province, China, is the overall winner of The Architectural Review’s House Award in 2012, the WA Chinese Architecture Award 2012 and the Wienerberger Brick Award 2014. 


Bolchover’s and Lin’s recently published book, Rural Urban Framework: Transforming the Chinese Countryside (Birkhauser, 2013), presents the research and projects of RUF in over 18 villages in China, discussing successful projects, failures, and speculations on the recent and coming changes in rural China.



Olivier Ottevaere is an architect and educator, based in Hong Kong. He founded Double(o) Studio with Elsa Caetano and their joint practice fuses architectural design with a focus on structural logics, construction procedures, geometrical organizations, and materiality.


Mr. Ottevaere is a full-time assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong. Previously, he has taught at the Architectural Association in London, the Singapore University of Design and Technology, the Royal Academy in Copenhagen, and the EPFL in Switzerland. His work with Atelier de la Conception de L’Espace (ALICE)/EPFL received the Biennial Pries Schweiz (Design Swiss Prize) in 2014 and Best Overall Project from the London Festival of Architecture Biennale in 2008. Double(o)’s precast cell-system for urban housing, ‘House Me Tender’, received The Architectural Review/MIPIM Future Award for Best Residential Project in 2015. Also in 2015, Perspective magazine named Mr. Ottevaere one of Asia-Pacific’s 40 Under 40. 


He is a graduate of The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union, in New York, and of The Bartlett School of Architecture, in London.

The PINCH, SWEEP and WARP is a series of projects that embody a unique intersection of contemporary design tools and rural construction in a vernacular context. By bringing together two parallel developments that are often thought of as independent and unrelated, the work emphasizes the validity of digital design in remote corners of the developing world.


Over the past 3 years, three earthquake reconstruction projects in Yunnan Province, China were built by students at The University of Hong Kong. Located in a remote mountainous landscape of peaks and valleys, each project was designed with a strategy of maximizing the use and experience of the landscape via structural wooden trusses and decked, ruled surfaces. The results are 3 small scale social programs: a library, a play area and marketplace. These projects engage the reconstruction processes led by the government, filling in the gap between infrastructure and house reconstruction. They instead focus on community needs.


The projects are the result of on-going collaboration with a local timber workshop, developing techniques for adapting complex geometries to simple traditional techniques.

PINCH, SWEEP and WARP are widely published and internationally awarded projects. As a proposal, the book goes beyond a building monograph, referencing historical precedents, showcasing geometric and digital modelling techniques alongside the story of a 3 year construction process.


This book will unfold the story of these earthquake reconstruction projects in China, celebrating the intersection of teaching and research, experimentation and onsite construction, complex geometry and local craftsmanship. Bringing together two of the most important architectural trajectories of today. 

Photo Credit: John Lin and Olivier Ottevaere

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