eyecatcher Unusual sites from around the world

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The Independent Culture
The team of architects chosen to represent France at this year's Venice Biennale is dEcoi i Atelier, a young Paris-based studio founded in 1991. Projects like the one shown here - yes, it does look very ordinary, but it isn't - are why dEcoi i Atelier have been selected.

What you see here is a drawing of one of 19 retreat houses under construction in an old rubber plantation just outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Each house, built on a tiny budget, is contained within a veil of adjustable louvres, allowing occupants a fine degree of control over sunlight and breezes.

Each house is sited on a plinth of wild grass, each has a black swimming pool (as opposed to show-off, suburb-style blue) and each is a model of an ecologically responsible and, as far as this is possible with architecture, "natural" design.

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