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Jason Paris / FlickerWhen you think of world-class architecture, you probably think of New York City, London, maybe Shanghai or Dubai in the past few years. What you may not realize is that our very own city of Toronto is home to some of the most beautiful and interesting architecture that's been built in the past decade or so... and is also home to some of the most innovative architects.

Here, we profile three of the best in the city: superkül, Hariri Pontarini and Altius. They've worked on projects of all sizes, from luxe single-family homes to important landmark structures all over the world. And they're all pushing the boundaries of what architecture can do, what it means, and how structures can integrate into the world around them.

Here's how superkül describes itself as a practice:

Founded inToronto in 2002 on a broad range of professional experience in Canada and abroad, superkül is recognized as a leading Canadian design practice. Our commitment to design excellence, pragmatism, and sustainability has resulted in numerous architecture and design awards and the publication of our work locally, nationally and internationally.

superkül is one of the busiest firms working in Southern Ontario today, creating modern structures that transform ordinary and legacy sites into, well, cool spaces. They're the masterminds behind the new 99 Sudbury, home to a hip new event space and one of Toronto's best seasonal restaurants. They also created the Linguistics Department facilities in the University ofToronto's Sidney Smith Hall along with several light-drenched, sleek residential builds.

Like superkul, Altius Architecture is at the forefront of new-modern design inToronto and the surrounding area. They call their style "a complete, holistic and collaborative approach to architecture", with a huge emphasis on sustainability, natural materials and green building. If you've ever driven up north for a weekend or a holiday, you may have encountered one of their stunning cottages, each of which is built both to incorporate and to stand out from the surrounding woodland or waterfront - and to let in every possible bit of light.

With laurels like the 2013 Ontario Residential Wood Design Award, Altius is an exceptional choice for those looking to build or renovate in tune with their surroundings.

Finally, Hariri Pontarini is the firm of choice for those who want to build big but also build smart. They are perhaps the most experimental and internationally acclaimed of the three, with their Baha'i temple inSantiago,Chile that resembles a paper lantern lit from within. They've also designed some ofToronto's most incredible homes in Forest Hill, the Bridle Path and other luxury enclaves. And if you've admired the new building at One Bloor East downtown? That's them, too.

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