The Pinch is a public library and community center designed by Olivier Ottevaere and John Lin, both assistant professors from the University of Hong Kong. Its most salient feature? A curved wooden roof where children can run wild. Built for the village of Shuanghe, in Yunnan province, China, it's part a government reconstruction effort following the devastating earthquakes of 2012. Now the library serves as both a memorial for what people lost, and a catalyst for the community's future.
The library itself sits against a retaining wall, and the roof takes a twisted path from the elevated path down to the recently built memorial plaza. Apart from a place for kids to play, the roof offers villagers a place to look out over beautiful views of the valley, or use it as a bridge to get from one area to another. “Although the government provided an open plaza for the reconstruction, we wanted to help introduce a program which would activate the site,” Lin told Dezeen.
Inside the library, trusses that provide support also extend downwards to form a simple floating bookcase that supplies the locals with free reading material. Sturdy school benches are used as seating for visitors, while polycarbonate doors can be opened up to provide additional circulation and a link to the plaza outside.
Part of the project’s success can also be attributed to a local timber manufacturing factory that helped create a relatively unique form using only simply materials. Unlike the concrete buildings built after the earthquakes, the library serves as proof that contemporary timber structures are still a viable option in remote areas of China. Much of the project was sponsored by The University of Hong Kong, which also oversaw the implementation of the site.
Images by University of Hong Kong