grace farms by SANAA awarded mies crown hall americas prize grace farms by SANAA awarded mies crown hall americas prize
oct 26, 2016

grace farms by SANAA awarded mies crown hall americas prize

 

grace farms, the public center for arts, faith and justice designed by japanese studio SANAA, has been announced as the winner of the 2014/2015 mies crown hall americas prize. the building, which opened in october 2015, extends beneath a long roof that follows the contours of the undulating site. referencing the way the structure appears to meander across the landscape, creating a series of sheltered outdoor spaces, the winding structure is referred to as ‘the river’. grace farms, which has been documented here by photographer iwan baan, is located in new canaan, the connecticut town also home to philip johnson’s iconic glass house.

grace-farms-sanaa-new-canaan-connecticut-mies-crown-hall-americas-prize-designboom-02
the building extends beneath a long roof that follows the contours of the undulating site
image © iwan baan (also main image)

 

 

for its design of grace farms, SANAA was chosen as the recipient of the 2014/2015 mies crown hall americas prize, an award that recognizes the most distinguished architectural works built on the north and south american continents. other shortlisted firms included angelo bucci, grafton architects, llosa cortegana, alberto kalach, and michael maltzan.

 

intended as a place that offers both peaceful respite and vibrant activity, the venue offers architectural tours, community dinners and discussions, concerts, athletics, or the opportunity to explore the 80-acre site independently.

grace-farms-sanaa-new-canaan-connecticut-mies-crown-hall-americas-prize-designboom-02
the structure appears to meander across the landscape, creating a series of sheltered outdoor spaces
image © iwan baan

 

 

among a strong group of projects grace farms emerged as a clear winner for the clarity and consistency of its architectural solution,’ commented stan allen, MCHAP jury president. ‘the jury was struck by the radical way in which the line between architecture and landscape is blurred by the ‘river’ building. the firsthand experience of the building reveals a confident realization and the immediacy of its detailing. finally, the grace farms project uniquely demonstrates architecture’s capacity to make a place for an innovative new institution.’

grace-farms-sanaa-new-canaan-connecticut-mies-crown-hall-americas-prize-designboom-02
the winding structure is referred to as ‘the river’
image © iwan baan

 

 

nestled into the terrain, the 86,000 square foot-building starts at a knoll before flowing down a long, gentle slope in a series of bends. structurally, the lightweight glass, concrete, steel, and wood building appears to float 10 to 14 feet above the surface of the ground as it twists and turns its way across the site. the resultant walkways, courtyards, and glass-wrapped volumes have been designed to transmit a sense of transparency, inviting people to engage with both the building and its natural surroundings.

grace-farms-sanaa-new-canaan-connecticut-mies-crown-hall-americas-prize-designboom-02
the lightweight building appears to float 10 to 14 feet above the surface of the ground
image © iwan baan

 

 

in addition, a previously existing barn has been renovated to serve as a welcome center with greeting spaces in two wings that flank an outdoor courtyard. the structure also houses many of the day-to-day programs, with classrooms, an art studio, a rehearsal space with sprung floor, offices, a lounge, a nursery and a drop-off food pantry to support the justice program.

grace-farms-sanaa-new-canaan-connecticut-mies-crown-hall-americas-prize-designboom-02
a sunken basketball court provides a venue for athletics and recreation
image © iwan baan

 

 

our goal with ‘the river’ is to make the architecture become part of the landscape without drawing attention to itself, or even feeling like a building,’ said kazuyo sejima of SANAA. ‘we hope that those who are on property with have a greater enjoyment of the beautiful environment and changing seasons through the spaces and experience by ‘the river’.’

 

see designboom’s previous coverage of the project ahead of its opening here, and under construction here.

grace-farms-sanaa-new-canaan-connecticut-mies-crown-hall-americas-prize-designboom-10
glass-wrapped volumes have been designed to transmit a sense of transparency
image © designboom

grace-farms-sanaa-new-canaan-connecticut-mies-crown-hall-americas-prize-designboom-09
the venue offers architectural tours, as well as community dinners and discussions
image © designboom

grace-farms-sanaa-new-canaan-connecticut-mies-crown-hall-americas-prize-designboom-08
grace farms is located in new canaan, the town also home to philip johnson’s glass house
image © designboom

grace-farms-sanaa-new-canaan-connecticut-mies-crown-hall-americas-prize-designboom-02
the building opened its doors to the public in october 2015
image © iwan baan

 

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