China's rapid urbanization has reeked havoc on the country's architectural and ecological past, writes Karen Stein, with traditional buildings and countryside routinely decimated to make way for new development. Octave, a new project from Tsao & McKowan Architects, strives to create a better model for urban growth by designing a new kind of community throughout China. Stein writes:
"Octave wants to develop diverse, pedestrian-friendly live-work communities where people of all economic levels have suitable housing as well as easy access to cultural facilities and the outdoors."
Octave is part think-tank and part architecture firm, with projects spanning from a 2008 master plan for a 240-acre development in Chengdu to a small-scale, mixed-use tourist project outside of Shanghai. The firm's ultimate goal, Stein says, is to "create an urbanity that is new to the China of today, yet not so foreign as to be alienating."