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The Oval Partnership Architecture Ltd is the London studio of an international group of architects, urbanists, designers and researchers.

Sustainability


Issues of sustainability and environmental protection loom large in China and underpin much of our work around the world. No country exemplifies more dramatically the stark choices we currently face.

Yet the sheer scale of rapid urbanisation in China, although an enormous challenge, could be seen as a potential catalyst for radical, globally relevant innovation in energy and resource technology and for imaginative, proactive intervention in habitat and biodiversity protection.

Oval Partnership has been at the forefront of promoting a more radical sustainability agenda in Asia for many years. It permeates our thinking and informs our work around the world.

Working with Japanese engineers we pioneered the use of bamboo as a viable structural construction material in the world’s first multi-storey bamboo house in Kunming, Yunnan Province. The potential of this new technology is immense, providing an affordable and ecologically sensitive option for the building of new townships and villages in China’s less developed interior.

In our master planning projects, energy use, habitat and ecological protection are primary concerns.

For example, we have been active in the promotion of urban agriculture using grey water irrigation as a way, not only of reducing food miles and improving biodiversity, but also of reminding consumers where food comes from and the delicate balance between man and soil to be maintained if we are to continue to successfully produce it in sufficient quantities. There is now a considerable body of research suggesting that enhanced integration with, and understanding of, the natural world can lead to a greater sense of stewardship and thus community. 

Equally important for us in the pursuit of meaningful long-term sustainable development are good design and imaginative place making as ends in themselves. Making places that people want to be in.

Viewed in this light, the environmental imperative becomes just another good reason to put design centre-stage in the development process.