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Architects Directory 2011

Group photo of the 2011 architects

We gathered 20 rising architecture practices at Renzo Piano's Shard in London and asked each of them to design their ultimate rural retreat

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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. The 20 houses were designed to be flexible and functional, but also formally and technically innovative, sitting on an isolated countryside site. The only proviso was the need for the homes to touch the ground lightly, with minimal disruption to the landscape.

The architects condensed their visions into a series of beautifully executed models, on show at the Architecture Foundation in London until 14th July. Here we take a close up look at these mini marvels, as well as the practices that conceived them, to see just what makes these architects the ones to watch.

Photography: Daniel Stier
Writers: Jonathan Bell & Ellie Stathaki