Scaffold Episode 94: Rural Urban Framework

The Hong Kong-based practice on how it has evolved in response to China's changing political and cultural landscape

Joshua Bolchover and John Lin are founders of the Hong-Kong based architecture practice Rural Urban Framework. 

In 2005 the Chinese government announced its plan to urbanize half of its remaining 700 million rural citizens by 2030. At the same time, Bolchover and Lin set up their practice as a research and design collaborative based at The University of Hong Kong. Conducted as a non-profit organization designing for charities and NGOs working in China, RUF has built over 15 projects in various villages in China including schools, community centers, hospitals, village houses, bridges, and incremental planning strategies. 

Much has changed in China since RUF began - the rural to urban migration emblematic of china’s development over the past several decades is in some ways now reversing.  Following changes in government policy as well as massive economic and cultural shifts, the practice has had to adapt and reorient itself. While they still co-direct Rural Urban Framework, Josh is also director of the District Development Unit, which focuses on the growth of developing regions in Mongolia, Nepal and the Philippines, while John has established a postgraduate program at HKU called the Building society that implements experimental building practices in traditional contexts. 

The interview was recorded in person in Hong Kong at HKU in October of 2023.  




Scaffold is a podcast series featuring interviews with architects, artists and designers. Hosted by Matthew Blunderfield and produced by the Architecture Foundation, it is available on Apple PocastsSpotify, and most major podcast streaming platforms.

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