Yorkshire-based practice the Robinson Design Group (RDG) has set up the first architectural joint venture between a British and a Chinese company.
The newly formed Robinson-JZFZ Architectural Design has already secured its first job - a contract for a 25-storey office building in Chengdu, Sichuan Province (pictured) - and is also planning a 1,000ha housing project in the same area.
After almost a year of negotiations, RDG believes this 'unique bond' is the only link-up of its kind between the countries to date.
Tony Mobbs, an executive director of the new practice, said: 'The more usual practice is for a co-operation to be formed within China, which can mean it lasts for one or two specific jobs, not the long term.
'With this new enduring joint venture, we can be assured that we will be contributing to the redesigning of one of the world's great nations.'
Other projects on the drawing board include a new 1,000m 2
villa, a 100m-tall mixed-use tower and a new swath of housing in southern China.
RIBA president George Ferguson said: 'This is really a huge step forward for our industry - to recognise the strength of the Chinese market and to be the first to set up such a fine company.'by Richard Waite