The eco-developer behind Bill Dunster's award-winning BedZED scheme is to team up with Foster and Partners to build 2,000 homes in the Thames Gateway.
Together the BioRegional Development Group and Foster are hoping to produce concept designs for a zero-waste, zero-carbon community which would house up to 5,000 people.
The unexpected collaboration follows news that Foster has joined forces with Jean Nouvel to develop a tower for the Bucklesbury House site near the Bank of England.
Only two months ago Foster also announced that he would be linking up with another unlikely stablemate, Frank Gehry, to participate in a competition to rejuvenate the Milan Fiera trade fair (AJ 1.4.04).
This latest project, Z-squared, is among the first major schemes aimed at regenerating more than 1,000ha of brownfield land alongside the Thames - an area stretching from Tower Bridge to Thurrock.
The concept will use information gathered from BioRegional's successful BedZED development - the Beddington Zero Energy Development, Wallington, Surrey - which won the sustainability prize at last year's RIBA Awards.
Other partners on the One Planet Living project include the World Wide Fund for Nature, Fulcrum Consulting and Cyril Sweet.
In the coming months BioRegional will be working with the Thames Gateway London Partnership of local authorities to identify a site for the Z-squared proposal and hopes to secure support from a consortium of industry, local government and NGO partners.
A spokeswoman for BioRegional said: 'We are pretty sure the Thames Gateway project will happen if we get the investors on board.
'Z-squared will turn information and ideas on waste management and resource efficiency into a living, working example of sustainable living for 5,000 people within Europe's largest regeneration area.'
If it gets off the ground, the Z-Squared project may become just one in a chain of green-powered communities across Europe.
Last week BioRegional began discussions with the Welsh Development Agency to find a location for a new 1,000-home eco-village.