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The best homes are designed for everyday life. Countless housing projects are built around the world every year, across a wide range of scales, from small lofts and tiny homes to multi-unit residential towers. Reinterpreting local building conditions and vernacular forms, new residences reflect contemporary values as they are built for modern living.
The following projects were deemed the world’s best residences from the 2020 A+Awards, each winning either a Jury or Popular Choice Award, and sometimes both. Including projects of many scales, locations and construction statuses, these residences showcase some of the best architecture designed this year. Explore these new residential designs below, and discover the full list of 2020 A+Award winners across diverse typologies.
Downtown Loft by BDA Bushman Dreyfus Architects, Charlottesville, VA, United States
Residential-Apartment, Jury & Popular Choice Awards
The renovated apartment is located on the third floor of the oldest building on the downtown pedestrian mall in Charlottesville. The existing dark, commercial space was transformed into one spacious open floor apartment with a sleeping loft. Light is the theme of this minimal and modern intervention.
AMANI by Archetonic, Puebla, Mexico
Residential-Multi Unit Housing – High Rise (16+ Floors), Jury & Popular Choice Awards
AMANI contains 226 housing units varying between 84 and 168 sqm distributed in two buildings of 22 levels each. The access hall has a mezzanine that welcomes the visitors and residents alike into the complex with connections to green areas, while the remaining levels include the housing units.
XS House by Interface Studio Architects LLC, Philadelphia, PA, United States
Residential-Multi Unit Housing – Low Rise (1-4 Floors), Jury Choice Award
XS House places seven apartments on an underutilized site. Its extremely narrow, 11-foot-wide by 93-foot-long parcel is strategically expanded through bays, mezzanines, and bi-level upper units. The 63-foot-tall section connects seven levels of occupied space within its very small footprint, with unit stairs positioned to unlock mezzanine levels and create dramatic spaces.
Hadohilljo Townhouse by UNITEDLAB Associates LLC, Jeju-do, South Korea
Residential-Multi Unit Housing – Low Rise (1-4 Floors), Popular Choice Award
This village is composed of a community center, 48 single residences, parks, and amenities. The main corridor connects the individual homes. The site, located in Hado-ri, is one of the most preserved natural regions. Hado-ri stands in high relief to the rapid march of development on other parts of Jeju Island.
Jeanette301 by Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects [LOHA], Santa Ana, CA, United States
Residential-Multi Unit Housing – Mid Rise (5-15 Floors), Jury Choice Award
Jeanette301 is a five-story apartment complex that fixes 182 units onto a relatively modest 2.1 acre site. The project houses a community of live-work studios with shared workshop and social spaces designed to facilitate and promote a collaborative living environment.
108 Chambers by Pure + FreeForm & Woods Bagot, New York, NY, United States
Residential-Multi Unit Housing – Mid Rise (5-15 Floors), Popular Choice Award
108 Chambers is a 10-story mixed use building in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City. The unique facade features custom geometric angular slab/spandrel metal panel formations surrounding the windows on the entire exterior. The finish, Deco Bronze, is a contextual nod to the previous building’s bronze facade.
Casa Mi by Daluz Gonzalez Architekten, Zürich, Switzerland
Residential-Private House (L 3000-5000 sq ft), Jury Choice Award
Casa Mi takes a series of slopped, interconnected massing to form connections around light and voids. A simple, matte white color palette and materials were chosen to shift the experiential focus away from the residence and out towards panoramic views.
Art Villas Costa Rica | Atelier Villa by Formafatal, Provincia de Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Residential-Private House (L 3000-5000 sq ft), Popular Choice Award
Not far from the Costa Rican town Uvita – there is a hidden small resort Art Villas on the jungle hill above the beach Playa Hermosa. Three unique villas and one multifunctional pavilion are scattered over a plot of land. Formafatal Studio was inspired by the atmosphere and colors of Central and South America.
Skigard Hytte by Mork Ulnes Architects, Fåvang, Norway
Residential-Private House (M 1000-3000 sq ft), Jury Choice Award
On top of a mountain in Kvitfjell, Norway is a regular grid of 45 wooden columns suspending a 144 square meter cabin 1.5 meters above the ground. These columns are clad with skigard – 3 meter long quarter-cut logs traditionally laid out diagonally by farmers as fencing.
Lightus Retreat by Joongwon Architects, South Lake Tahoe, CA, United States
Residential-Private House (M 1000-3000 sq ft), Popular Choice Award
Lighthus Retreat is a vacation home located in the wilderness of Lake Tahoe, a destination frequented by visitors near and far. Situated in a heavily wooded area, the design of the cabin stands away from traditional approaches of clear-cutting the site in favor of designing around trees.
CASA NAILA by BAAQ, Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Residential-Private House (S <1000 sq ft), Jury Choice Award
The house sits on a rocky point, as a beacon to the sea, with two fronts towards the Pacific coast. The cross-shaped courtyard has four seven-meter-high volumes, with a pitched roof that frame views to the sea.
The Modular Unit (MU50) by Teke Architects Office, Turkey
Residential-Private House (S <1000 sq ft), Popular Choice Award
The Modular Unit is a small-scale, off-grid structure, designed to be recyclable, to allow a wide range of building uses and reduce environmental impact maximizing its site flexibility. A single module consists of two timber frames and the enclosure between them which were prefabricated and then mounted on-site.
n.n. Residence by J.MAYER.H, Moscow, Russia
Residential-Private House (XL >5000 sq ft), Jury Choice Award
This home represents a spatial exploration between concealment and exposure. This layered topography blurs the line separating landscape and construction. It is the private residence of a family in a rural area along the River Moskva.
Casa Candelaria by Cherem Arquitectos, Mexico
Residential-Private House (XL >5000 sq ft), Popular Choice Award
Casa Candelaria was conceived under the concept of Mexican haciendas, solving the house around courtyards. A key intention for the design development was the decision to use rammed earth walls, with natural mineral aggregates that allows the earth to take on a black tone.
The garden house in the city by christos pavlou architecture, Nicosia, Cyprus
Residential-Residential Interiors, Jury & Popular Choice Awards
A house that brings nature back to the city, promoting shared spaces and social dialogue between its residents is what inspired the team to design the ‘’garden house’’. The design emphasizes the potential for private urban gardens and the micro-climates they create to improve living conditions within cities.
MIRA by Studio Gang, San Francisco, CA, United States
Residential-Unbuilt – Multi-Unit Housing (L >10 Floors), Jury Choice Award
MIRA is an urban residential development in the heart of San Francisco. Just blocks from the Bay Bridge, Embarcadero, and Rincon Park, the 400-foot-tall tower rethinks the classic bay window, a familiar feature of San Francisco’s early houses, reimagining it in a high-rise context.
H_1002 by 314 architecture studio, Athens, Greece
Residential-Unbuilt – Multi-Unit Housing (L >10 Floors), Popular Choice Award
H1002 is a residential project situated in the heart of Athens. The plot is located in Spefsipou Street, in Kolonaki district, one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the center of the city and it is connected to a neoclassical building built in 1870.
Variable by Marziemirjafari
Residential-Unbuilt – Multi-Unit Housing (S <10 Floors), Jury Choice Award
The design team asked whether, in the construction of a house, it is possible to turn it into a flexible space with a different attitude and the use of technology , which can change dimensions according to the wishes of the residents, and can be moved.
Student Residence in Saclay_momentum by Bordas+Peiro Architecte
Residential-Unbuilt – Multi-Unit Housing (S <10 Floors), Popular Choice Award
This student residence explored how to create a dense and inhabited city in a natural environment. Reinforcing the transition between an urban nature in the central fringe, and a more porous and less constituted fabric, this approach makes it “possible to dilute the borders between city and plant.”
The Meander by S^A | Schwartz and Architecture
Residential-Unbuilt – Private House (L >3000 sq ft), Jury Choice Award
Meandering rivers carved the coastal valleys surrounding this ridgeline home over millennium forming zig-zagging interlocking ‘spurs’, which draw the eye into the distance as they recede. This home’s staggered forms continue these rhythms.
NONAGRIAM TWINS by A31 ARCHITECTURE
Residential-Unbuilt – Private House (L >3000 sq ft), Popular Choice Award
Nestled among Andros’ wild mountains, fecund valleys and waterfalls, this complex consists of two detached houses. Modern and rigorous, the design bears clear lines and is organically linked to the natural landscape of Andros.
SkyValley House by Edward Ogosta Architecture
Residential-Unbuilt – Private House (S <3000 sq ft), Jury Choice Award
Conceived as a “California chalet for the 21st Century,” the SkyValley House in the town of Lake Arrowhead references the historic legacy of local mountain dwellings while maintaining a contemporary architectural expression. The project culminates in a rooftop viewing perch at the valley between the main roof volumes.
Six- House Villa by BNS Studio
Residential-Unbuilt – Private House (S <3000 sq ft), Popular Choice Award
Six- House villa is a modern metaphor for the definition of house in traditional Persian architecture. The word “House” used to refer to the concept of today’s “Room” in the past; in that sense, a dwelling included a few “Houses” each with specific functionality.
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