seamlessly integrated into 80 acres of rural connecticut countryside, SANAA’s meandering ‘river building’ at grace farms is finally ready to open to the public. located in new canaan, the town home to philip johnson’s iconic glass house, the structure extends, with a nearly continual roof, over a series of indoor and outdoor spaces. as stated on the non-profit organization’s website, the project aims to provide a publicly accessible open environment, ‘where people may experience nature, foster community, pursue justice and explore faith’.


the 86,000 square foot building seeks to blend with features of the landscape, using a glass-walled envelope to foster a constant sense of lightness and transparency. in addition, a previously existing barn has been renovated to serve as a welcome center with a greeting space in each of its two wings. 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. 

SANAA grace farms river building opening new canaan connecticut designboom
the 86,000 square foot building seeks to blend with features of the existing landscape
image © dean kaufman (also main image) / courtesy of grace farms



our goal with the river (building) is to make the architecture become part of the landscape without drawing attention to itself, or even feeling like a building,’ commented 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.’


grace farms president sharon prince explains: through this blending of landscape, architecture and multifaceted programs, we hope to offer people a special place to share a quiet walk through the meadows, enjoy coffee or an intimate concert, pitch in with helping others for a worthy cause or get in touch with the deepest questions about the meaning of our lives. the possibilities of grace farms are as open as the landscape itself, which is the spirit that SANAA has so perfectly conveyed.’


grace farms opens its doors on october 9th, 2015 with two days of special performances, public talks and family programs. see designboom’s coverage of the project under construction here.