The Pinch: phase I

The Pinch is a two phase construction of a library and community center designed by Olivier Ottevaere and John Lin in Shuanghe Village, Yunnan Province. The project is part of a government led reconstruction effort after an earthquake in September 2012.

The Pinch: phase I
The Pinch is a two phase construction of a library and community center in Shuanghe Village, Yunnan Province.
The project is part of a government led reconstruction effort after an earthquake in September 2012. The majority of village houses were destroyed, leaving the residents living in tents for up to one year. After the earthquake the government has sponsored new concrete and brick houses and a large central plaza. During the first site visit, the houses remained incomplete and the plaza was a large empty site.
The Pinch: phase I
Olivier Ottevaere and John Lin, The Pinch, Shuanghe Village, Yunnan Province, China

The University of Hong Kong decided to sponsor the design and implementation of a new library structure. Located in the plaza, it would serve to activate the community and provide a physical memorial for the event.

The site of the library faced a 4 meter high retaining wall. The design spans across this level difference and acts as a bridge between the rebuilt village and the new memorial plaza. Emphasizing its location in a remote mountain valley, the design responds visually to the space of the valley, offering stunning views across a dramatic double curved roof. The structure itself rises to a peak, a monument to the earthquake and rebuilding effort.

The Pinch: phase I
Olivier Ottevaere and John Lin, The Pinch, Shuanghe Village, Yunnan Province, China

As a Knowledge Exchange Project, the construction involves collaboration with a local timber manufacturing factory. The process resulted in the development of a surprisingly diverse form through simple means.

A series of trusses is anchored between the upper road level and lower plaza level. The form of each truss changes to create both a gradual incline (to bring people down) and then a sharp upward pitch (to elevate the roof). The trusses were covered in an aluminum waterproofing layer and timber decking. Rather than submitting to the abandonment of wood construction (as with the houses after the earthquake), the project reasserts the ability to build contemporary timber structures in remote areas of China.

The Pinch: phase I
Olivier Ottevaere and John Lin, The Pinch, Shuanghe Village, Yunnan Province, China
Phase II will involve the completion of a glass enclosure, and library interior in 2014. In the meantime, the space is already being used informally for community gatherings and children’s play space.

The Pinch, Shuanghe Village, Yunnan Province, China
Program : Library and Community Center Part I
Architects : Olivier Ottevaere and John Lin
Funding : Supported by the Knowledge Exchange Impact Award, HKU
Project Team : Crystal Kwan, Ashley Hinchcliffe, Connie Cheng
Area : 80 sqm
Date : September 2012 – ongoing

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