For this year's Architects Directory, we selected 20 of the world's best emerging architects, giving each an open brief to design the ultimate rural retreat. To showcase their models, we've put together an exhibition and a series of talks uniting the featured architects, titled '20 Houses: A New Residential Landscape' at the Architecture Foundation in London.
Presented in a minimal, sculptural set-up developed by Wallpaper*, the models are based on an initial abstract landscape idea by emerging UK practice NaJa & deOstos, and enhanced by a lighting environment created by specialists Speirs + Major, with technical support from Enliten. This incorporates discreet projections of natural imagery, which turn the space into a rural landscape, inspired by the brief.
Our generous hosts, the Architecture Foundation, also gave over their rooftop terrace for the opening party, with the London skyline - including Renzo Piano's rising Shard - as a backdrop. Guests sipped on refreshing summer cocktails courtesy of Mamont Vodka.
As part of the exhibition programme, Wallpaper* and The Architecture Foundation have invited a selection of the practices from the 2011 Directory to take part in a series of talks, using the theme of built/unbuilt to explore the relationship between real world commissions and the ideas and approaches that arose out of the open brief for the Directory commission.
The first part of the 20 Houses: a New Residential Landscape series, the first talk on 14 June will feature participating architects Fourfoursixsix, Pasel.Künzel Architects and Hurst Song, focusing on designs that integrate house and landscape. Be it floating in water, half-buried in earth or united with the landscape through virtual means, these houses will look at the relation of retreat houses and nature and instigate a conversation about boundaries, sustainability and design harmony within an existing natural landscape.
Taking place on 5 July, the second talk looks at residential retreat solutions that let nature take the lead and provide the formal and programmatic inspiration; some designed around dominating rocky landscapes and built around specific views, others connecting with the countryside through specific interaction with nature or the memories of childhood camping, featuring Taka, Studio Octopi and Warren Techentin.