You can’t stop progress, even in the midst of a pandemic.

The Dezeen Awards celebrate annual achievements in design, via a round of nominations, a public vote, and finally a 75-strong expert panel. The Architecture shortlist has just been announced, chosen from a longlist containing 302 entries in 12 categories, and the buildings on it are spectacular.

Think a home without walls in Tokyo, a ‘Forest House’ in ultra-urban Bangkok, and a study centre in Northern China designed to imitate "a floating cloud hovering in the mountains".

Here’s our pick of the nominees…

Housing Project: ‘The Borderless Community of Zi Ni’ by FEI Architects, China

(FEI Architects/Dezeen Awards/PA)

Designed for China’s "slash generation" – entrepreneurial youths with high social profiles – this colourful development combines living quarters with office areas and exhibition spaces. The result is undeniably dynamic, and looks disconcertingly alive.

Housing Project: ‘Eden’ by Heatherwick Studio, Singapore

(Heatherwick Studio/Dezeen Awards/PA)

An eco-conscious high-rise made from natural materials, and packed with energy efficient homes, Eden is meant to act as a vertical mirror to Singapore’s tree-lined streets.

Urban House: ‘Forest House’ by Shma Company, Thailand

(Shma Company/Dezeen Awards/PA)

An oasis of green in ultra-urban Bangkok, this whitewashed eco-build brings the country to the city in a very literal way. Stuffed with shrubs and miniature trees, the studio aimed to design a lush microclimate, tackling resident wellness as well as air pollution.

Urban House: ‘Daita’ by Suzuko Yamada Architects, Japan

(Suzuko Yamada Architects/Dezeen Awards/PA)

With no wall between house and garden, let alone between rooms, this labyrinthine home in a Tokyo suburb gives a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘open plan’. Layer upon layer of pipes and steel beams lend the structure a strange, web-like look, and privacy comes only from tinted glass.

Rural House: ‘No Footprint House’ by A-01, Costa Rica

(A-01/Dezeen Awards/PA)

A prototype for zero-carbon homes, this rural abode was built prefab with sustainable components, and carried to its location on a single truck. The slatted walls act like large blinds, opening and closing to maximise ventilation, while the few appliances run wholly on renewable energy.

Civic Building: ‘Tanzhaus Zurich’ by Barozzi Veiga, Switzerland

(Barozzi Veiga/Dezeen Awards/PA)

A geometric facade of triangular windows front this new cultural centre in Zurich, providing an impressive new panorama along the river. At night, the building lights up the promenade with pointed vaults of light.

Civic Building: ‘Maggie’s at The Royal Marsden’ by Ab Rogers Design, United Kingdom

(Ab Rogers Design/Dezeen Awards/PA)

Bright red is a bold palette for buildings, but Maggie’s makes it work and then some. A cancer care centre in Sutton, London, the design aims to maximise psychological wellbeing with vibrant colours, curated garden spaces, and streams of natural light.

Hospitality Building: ‘Garden Hotpot Restaurant’ by Muda-Architects, China

(Muda-Architects/Dezeen Awards/PA)

A quite gorgeous hotpot restaurant on the edges of Chengdu, this nominee for best Hospitality Building snakes along the boundary between a towering eucalyptus forest and a serene lotus pond.

Cultural Building: ‘Jiunvfeng Study on Mount Tai’ by Gad Line+ Studio, China

(Gad Line+ Studio/Dezeen Awards/PA)

A elongated pavilion high among the peaks of Northern China, this bright white study centre precariously straddles a rocky ridge, and was intended to imitate "a floating cloud hovering in the mountains".

Rebirth Project: Crye Precision Headquarters by MC DPC, United States

(MC DPC/Dezeen Awards/PA)

A case study in converting instead of knocking down, New York studio MN DPC took a former ship-building factory, refurbished the walkways, rationalised the floor space, added a lot of plants, and turned it into a modern corporate HQ.

Residential Rebirth Project: ‘Qishe Courtyard’ by Archstudio, China

(Archstudio/Dezeen Awards/PA)

Once an abandoned hutong (or alley) in the heart of Beijing, this innovative build mixes traditional with modern in classic Chinese style. The tiled roofs and grey-brick facade have been built back almost as was, but complemented with curved glass walls and inset lighting.

Infrastructure Project: ‘The Technion’s Entrance Gate’ by Schwartz Besnosoff Architects, Israel

(Schwartz Besnosoff Architects/Dezeen Awards/PA)

An elongated entrance for Israel’s Institute of Technology, this ramp-cum-bridge had to wear its tech-savvy credentials on its sleeve. The interlocking undercarriage is illuminated by inset lighting, and ascends above the road on just two sets of steel supports.