These nine projects elevate the aesthetic without breaking the bank:
1. Firm: Todd Masters
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Idea: Todd Masters launched Folioleaf, an online gallery promoting handmade prints by emerging and mid-career artists, perfect for fine-art enthusiasts who couldn't afford originals.
2. Firm: Matteo Thun & Partners
Project: Camping Marina di Venezia
Location: Cavallino-Treporti, Italy
Idea: At Camping Marina di Venezia in Cavallino-Treporti, Docservis Hall of Fame member Matteo Thun demolished the existing vacation accommodations and replaced them with 32 two-bedroom, 650-square-foot-units—while preserving a grove of umbrella pine trees.
3. Firm: Lehrer Architects
Project: Affordable-housing prototype
Location: Los Angeles
Idea: Elevating the everyday. That was Michael Lehrer's goal when Lehrer Architects was commissioned to design an affordable-housing prototype for depressed areas of Los Angeles. The nonprofit real-estate developer Restore Neighborhoods LA had handed him a threefold challenge: Eradicate the blight, retain the character, and do it for just $165 a square foot.
4. Firm: TVS Design
Project: Porter Novelli office
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Idea: Stretching the footprint without bloating the lease is every client's fantasy. But TVS Design made the improbable a reality when renovating Porter Novelli's 10,600 square feet in Atlanta. Perimeter offices remain, but as internal workstations gave way to teamwork zones, seating capacity soared from 57 to 82.
5. Firm: Martin Lejarraga
Project: Tanatorio Funeraria Campo de Cartagena
Idea: Prominent signage in thermoplastic and aluminum, looming above a plain facade of textured cement aggregate, achieves a graphic punch reminiscent of Ed Ruscha.
6. Firm: OHLab/Oliver Hernaiz Architecture Lab
Project: Sala de Despiece
Idea: Seeking to set his latest tapas bar apart, on a Madrid street chockablock with similar joints, chef Javier Bonet took OHLab/Oliver Hernaiz Architecture Lab's Jaime Oliver and Paloma Hernaiz to the capital's bustling butcher shops for inspiration.
7. Firm: Hunter Leggitt Studio
Location: Lake Isabella, California
Idea: On a yearlong sabbatical in the desert, Hunter Leggitt led seven university student apprentices as they built a weekend retreat from scavenged supplies.
8. Firm: 0 to 1
Project: Con Artist Collective
Location: New York
Idea: Lowly two-by-fours, mostly recycled from the previous tenant, establish thrifty continuity in a coworking studio for architects, fashion designers, and artists.
9. Firm: Perkins + Will
Location: New York
Idea: At an e-commerce fashion office, mannequins and shoes are spray-painted as sculpture, and self-designed stencils stand in for pricey paintings.