Rural Urban Framework is a research and design group, a collaboration between Joshua Bolchover and John Lin. RUF focuses its attention on a changing population dynamic in China as people transition from rural spaces into urban ones. Working with the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong, RUF confronts the dynamic with built projects, research, exhibitions and writing.
The work of RUF is addressing one of the most urgent geopolitical issues of our time, how to deal with the imbalances created by mass migrations. China is currently undergoing a migration of unprecedented scale. In 1980, approximately 80 percent of Chinese lived in rural villages, while today more than half of the population lives in cities. This trend is expected to continue to accelerate under a government plan to move an additional 250 million rural residents into cities by the year 2025. As a result, China is losing approximately 300 villages every day.
RUF was founded in 2006 and has since addressed both depopulated cities as well as urban sprawl. The studio has completed 18 projects across China, often involving locals in the design process. They’ve built projects including schools, bridges and housing. One of their largest projects was to rebuild an entire village following a disaster. A school the firm completed in Mulan, Guangdong included classrooms, a playground, and a restroom building that was clad in reflective tiles and had a bioremediation system to treat sewage. RUF frequently includes infrastructure in addition to the buildings. A housing project the firm built included systems for rainwater collection and a biogas power generator. The designers told Dezeen:
“When we began the collaboration I was most interested in understanding these volatile landscapes or ambiguous landscapes, but then also how to act,” said co-founder Joshua Bolchover.
“In China and the world, we live in an urban age, but we believe its future course is intertwined with the fate of the rural,” he added.
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