Designs from a Hong Kong architectural company featuring China's diverse landscapes will figure in the Beijing Olympic Village. The Earthasia Design Group said its designs were aimed at creating a harmonious environment that minimised conflict and encouraged exchanges among athletes outside a competitive environment. Hong Kong will host the equestrian events for next year's Olympics, but few people have been aware that a city firm was behind the design for the Olympic Village. 'We abandoned the idea of covering the village with huge lawns, which was done in the Sydney Olympics, and presented the beauty of natural Chinese landscapes with regional themes,' said architect Patrick Lau Hing-tat, chairman of the Earthasia Design Group, who is also planning the Olympic Aquatic Park and Qingdao sailing centre. Situated in the same district as the Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven, the Olympic Village in the capital's Shunyi area will accommodate more than 16,000 athletes and representatives. 'It is their diverse ethnicity and religions that pose challenges to the village design,' Mr Lau said. 'The best way is to go for something neutral, something that deserves appreciation.' The company's design sees the village divided into four zones featuring landscapes from the northeast, northwest, southeast and southwest of the country. The zones are connected by a wandering stream, symbolising the Yangtze River. Those staying in northern areas of the village will find landscapes representing mountain ranges, deserts, forests and the Great Wall of China. Those living in southern areas will be surrounded by scenery commonly found in the southeast, including small streams, lakes, bridges, terraced fields and rocky terrain. Inventions from ancient times, including fireworks, the compass and scripts inscribed on bamboo strips, will also feature. 'We understand the beauty and culture of China and we are introducing them to the world in a modern style. That is the edge of a Hong Kong company,' Mr Lau said. He said the features would be integrated into the village in an abstract way, as a 'talking point'. The village will cover a total area of 66 hectares, comprising 22 six-storey buildings and 20 nine-storey buildings, with a forest park to the north and major Olympic venues to the south. It will include a clinic, library, restaurants and recreational facilities. Renewable energy and electric buses will also be introduced. Work is expected to be completed early next year, and the village will be sold as a property development after the Olympics.