Related Staff: John Lin, Olivier Ottevaere
Department: Architecture
Research Centre: Fabrication and Material Technologies Lab
Active Dates: September 2013 – March 2014
Funding Body: Supported by the Gallant Ho Experiential Learning Center, HKU

Project title: Pinch/Sweep/Warp

Project team:
Olivier Ottevaere and John Lin, The University of Hong Kong

The PINCH, SWEEP and WARP is a series of projects that embody a unique intersection of contemporary design tools and construction in a rural 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, these earthquake reconstruction projects in Yunnan Province, China were built by students of architecture. 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 addressing 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.

Ultimately the project is an independent exploration of the intersection between teaching and research, experimentation and onsite construction, complex geometry and local craftsmanship. Both multifaceted and site specific, PINCH, SWEEP, WARP is a project that is both prototypical and site specific architectural response.


The Pinch, Sweep and Warp are widely published and exhibited projects. They have been included in the exhibition “Uneven Growth” at the MOMA in NYC, published in the Phaidon “World Atlas Architecture”, Detail, Domus, Architectural Review, Architectural Digest, Lotus, They have become part of the canonical body of works for architecture projects in the categories of small scale, in developing regions and using digital methods of design.

Finalist, Building of the Year 2016, Public Architecture Category, The ‘Warp’, Rest Area and Roadside Market. ArchDaily.

Runner-up Culture Award, The ‘Pinch’, Community Center and Library. Architectural Review, London.

Merit Award (2nd place) International Category, The ‘Pinch, Sweep, Warp’, Canadian Wood Council, Ottawa.

Winner, “The Pinch: Library and Community Center”, Small Project of the Year, World Architecture Festival WAF, International

Shortlisted, “The Pinch: Library and Community Center”, Wood Excellence Prize, World Architecture Festival WAF, International

Winner, “The Pinch: Library and Community Center”, Best Experimental Project Category, WA Chinese Architecture Award, World Architecture Magazine International

Best of the Best, “The Pinch: Library and Community Center”, A&D (Architecture and Design) Trophy Awards, International

Winner, “The Pinch: Library and Community Center”, Best Institutional, A&D (Architecture and Design) Trophy Awards, International

Silver Award, “The Pinch: Library and Community Center”, Design For Asia Awards, International



Enlarge Photo: Pinch/Sweep/Warp 1Enlarge Photo: Pinch/Sweep/Warp 2Enlarge Photo: Pinch/Sweep/Warp 3Enlarge Photo: Pinch/Sweep/Warp 4