Four architects will go head to head today (Monday) in a competition that aims to redefine the way we live and work in the countryside.

Nearly 100 architectural firms from around Europe submitted plans to to build a £6m sustainable village in Lawrenny in a hugely popular competition run by the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Judges whittled down contestants down to a final four: Davies Sutton (Cardiff), Letts Wheeler (Nottingham), Ash Sakula (London) and Tom Russell (Bristol).

Over the weekend their plans went on show to the Pembrokeshire public. Today all four contestants will make their final pitch behind closed doors and one winner will be chosen.

A key feature of the winning project will be sustainability. In the face of soaring energy prices, the winning village will be totally self-powered with a nearby dairy supplying methane for cooking.

Another challenge will be to try to source as much building material as possible from the surrounding environment with timber and stone coming from local woods and quarries.

Designers have had to consider the existing village of Lawrenny, winner of Welsh village of the year 2008, which could nearly double in size with this development. They have been briefed to come up with a seamless transition between old and new villages which would bring real benefits to the existing settlement.

"This is the conclusion to one of the Royal Institute of British Architects most popular competitions in recent times," says Adrian Lort-Phillips from Lawrenny Enterprises, the family run company that commissioned the competition.

"Architects are really into the challenge of sustainability, affordability and beautiful design in the countryside right now. It's just a reflection of that fact that many of us see the countryside as the ultimate place to be.

"The designers have been briefed to redefine the way people live and work in rural homes. They've all designed homes that use minimal energy, make the most of life indoors and out and that look great."