The finalists have been named for this year's 2019 ABB LEAF Awards, which highlights outstanding architecture from around the globe. Though it features the usual big names, such as SOM, Zaha Hadid, and UN Studio, there's also a surprising number of outstanding projects from lesser known firms.

Now in its 18th year, the annual ABB Group LEAF Awards (Leading European Architects Forum Awards) is a global international prize that recognizes innovative architectural design.

"From China to Switzerland and many more, the shortlist includes projects of all scales and complexities from across the world," says the press release. "All of the shortlisted projects include buildings that are setting the benchmark for the international architectural community."

The overall winner will be announced on October 24 in Berlin, Germany. Until then, here are some highlights.

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects recently won the Best Tall Building Worldwide award from the influential Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat for its Salesforce Tower in San Francisco. The building is connected to the Salesforce Transit Center, which is impressive in its own right.

The huge transit station stretches over five blocks in downtown San Francisco and is defined by a 2.2 hectare (5.4 acre) rooftop park that includes a 1,000-person amphitheater, oak trees and a wetland marsh. It improves connectivity in the city and is also on track to be awarded LEED Gold certification (a green building standard).

Urban Home of Nature, by Origin Architect, is located in Beijing and is envisioned as a prototype ground floor apartment that embraces nature.

Interior partition walls have been removed and tree trunks and thick plank flooring was installed to try lend the home a feeling of being outdoors. Additionally, the children's bedroom has been designed to resemble a large bird's nest. The room is reached by a ladder that's separate from the main staircase, with the aim of it becoming becomes an ideal place for kids to play hide and seek.

The Retreat at Blue Lagoon, by Basalt Architects, is a new spa and hotel situated on the western side of Iceland's famous geothermal spa that integrates into the landscape impressively. The building is situated within natural lava formations and actually makes use of the lava to form both the perimeter of the lagoon and the interior walls of the spa.

Head to the gallery to see the other outstanding projects shortlisted for the 2019 ABB LEAF Awards.

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