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The remarkable plasticity of their architecture allows plants to adjust growth to the environment and to overcome adverse conditions. Two examples of environmental stresses that drastically affect shoot development are imminent shade and high temperature. Plants in crowded environments and plants in elevated ambient temperature display very similar phenotypic adaptations of elongated hypocotyls in seedlings and elevated and elongated leaves at later developmental stages. The comparable growth responses to shade and high temperature are partly regulated through shared signaling pathways, of which the phytohormone auxin and the phytochrome interacting factors (PIFs) are important components. During both shade- and temperature-induced elongation growth auxin biosynthesis and signaling are upregulated in a PIF-dependent manner. In this review we will discuss recent progress in our understanding of how auxin mediates architectural adaptations to shade and high temperature.