Potemkin Village

This is the definitely the year of the Chinese architect. Wang Shu wins the Pritzker Prize, the dissident Ai Weiwei’s takes part in the design with Herzog & de Meuron of this year’s Serpentine Pavilion (which Paul Goldberger tweeted is “thoughtful, pleasant, hardly anyone’s greatest moment”), and now the British magazine, Architectural Review, presents its 2012 House Award to John Lin, an assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong and a principal in the firm Rural Urban Framework. The house is surrounded by a perforated brick screen. Behind the screen, four courtyards accommodate family activities, animals, and a biogas digester.  The magazine press release calls it “a modern prototype of this traditional locus of rural life.” Well, it’s certainly uncompromisingly modern, but I worry that ­it looks so neat and designy. Trying to imagine it with muddy pigs.

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