Rethinking traditional building methods for contemporary taste can have striking results – take the exterior of this Belgian new-build by And’rol (+32 486 904 447; http://www.androl.be/), which was inspired by a neighbouring castle. Precast concrete lintels are a modern nod to old rubble stone and grout oozes from between them to reinforce the building’s robust character. The asymmetric roof and split-level interior are a good option for anyone facing a steep plot.
Want to modernise the look of your home without extensive remodelling? Take a look at this small roof extension by Studio 54 Architecture (020 7729 7818, studio54architecture.co.uk). It replaced the front elevation with a boxy rainscreen and larch-clad extension, then added two windows to bring more light into the upper floors.
Architects often try to mirror local landscapes in their designs, but this cabin in Ontario, Canada, by UUfie (+ 1 416 533 9999; uufie.com) takes the concept to a whole new level. A deep cut-out in the seven-metre-high A-frame has been lined with mirrors, giving the illusion that the forest continues through the building. The black-wood cladding is also ingenious – created using charred cedar, it acts as a natural agent against termite and fire damage.