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These five outstanding residential architecture projects in France, Canada, Iceland, and China won 2016 AZ Awards of Merit in the category of Residential Architecture.

A modernist-inspired dwelling in Australia, a hilltop cottage in rural Quebec, and a tiny NYC espresso bar are amongst the winners of 2016 AZ Awards of Merit in the category of Residential Architecture.

For the sixth annual AZ Awards, our intrepid jury narrowed the field from over 800 submissions, received from dozens of countries, to select just 48 finalists that stood above the rest. In addition to presenting the AZ Award winners, Azure recognized these projects, products and concepts with Awards of Merit.

The following five projects are Awards of Merit winners in the category of Residential Architecture.

Carré Lumière: 79 housing units
This complex in the Bordeaux suburb of Bègles, France, reconciles the advantages of a single-family home with apartment-style living. LAN Architecture designed two modular buildings clad in sheet metal, like stacks of shipping containers. Each of the 79 abodes has multiple viewpoints, and a cube-like exterior space that tenants can use as a windbreak or a winter garden, or as a means of cooling and ventilating their units by simply opening large sliding panels that match the exterior cladding. Like all home­owners, the residents are free to renovate, but the high-density design keeps heating and property costs well below market.

Location: Bordeaux, France

Firm: LAN Architecture, France

Team: Benoit Jallon and Umberto Napolitano ­

The U
This mixed-use apartment complex in Old Montreal plays fast and loose with local typologies. The entrance resembles the arched porte cochères found on the city’s oldest structures, while the central courtyard, with its multiple access points and elevator banks, references the iconic Habitat 67. The site, designed by Atelier Big City, sits adjacent to the Unity Building, a grand early 20th‑century skyscraper. But The U’s unique textured facade, with windows that jut out at odd angles to maximize light penetration, sets it apart from everything else in town.

Location: Montreal, Canada

Firm: Atelier Big City, Canada

Team: Randy Cohen, Howard Davies and Triana Dima, with Emily LaFrance, Vi Ngo and Sébastien St-Laurent

Tula House
This wildly creative family home is Patkau Architects’ response to the geography of the island on which it’s built: to the east, a jagged ledge overlooks the Strait of Georgia; to the west, basalt hills, deep valleys and forests of Douglas fir unfold. The dwelling is low slung and every bit as irregular as the landscape: a rambling suite of interconnected rooms, with concrete walls, full-height windows, and a subtly undulating steel-framed roof beneath a carpet of moss. The most extreme element is the cantilevered wooden deck, which includes glass apertures that open dramatically to the roiling waters below.

Location: Quadra Island, Canada

Firm: Patkau Architects, Canada

Team: John Patkau, Patricia Patkau and David Shone, with Greg Boothroyd, James Eidse, Mike Green, Marc Holland, Dimitri Koubatis, Thomas Schroeder and Craig Simms ­

Rethinking the Split House
The classic lane house, a three-storey structure with an elongated base, was once ubiquitous in Old Shanghai. It’s now disappearing to make way for high-rise construction, but Neri&Hu Design and Research Office is fighting back. Rethinking the Split House converts the shell of a dilapidated lane house into a three-family abode, with units connected by an open metal staircase. The 193-square-metre dwelling, which is
wedged between two other buildings, called for generous fenestration, namely a skylight over the stairwell, and floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the street, offering a clean, contemporary take on a regional form.

Location: Shanghai, China

Firm: Neri&Hu Design and Research Office, China

Team: Rossana Hu and Lyndon Neri, with Xiao Lei, Zhao Lei, Guo Peng and Tony Schonhardt ­

Vacation Rental Homes
PK Arkitektar’s 20 cottages in southwestern Iceland raise the bar for what sustainable, context-sensitive design can achieve. Based on vernacular turf houses, with exteriors clad in hardwood charred to enhance its durability, the dwellings are so thoroughly integrated into the landscape that they seem almost biological. Earth mounds excavated during construction were used to build bunkers that shield the outdoor terraces from wind. Most strikingly, the rooftops are covered in vegetation, making them as lush and green as the surrounding hills.

Location: Brekkuskógur, Iceland

Firm: PK Arkitektar, Iceland

Team: Fernando de Mendonca and Palmar Kristmundsson, with Andrew Burges, Liidia Grinko, Sunna Dóra Sigurjónsdóttir and Erna Vestmann ­

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