Grace Farms Foundation New Canaan, River Connecticut Building, America, Modern USA architecture

Grace Farms New Canaan

River: Contemporary Architecture in Connecticut, USA design by SANAA Architects

Oct 20, 2016

Location: New Canaan, Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States

Grace Farms Wins Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize

Grace Farms, the River building:
Grace Farms, the River building
photo © Iwan Baan

Grace Farms Foundation Center is MCHAP Winner

Wiel Arets, Dean of the Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture, and Dirk Denison, Director of the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP), announced yesterday evening that Grace Farms (New Canaan, Connecticut, US) by the firm SANAA is the recipient of the 2014/2015 MCHAP, recognizing the most distinguished architectural works built on the North and South American continents.

Kazuko Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, founders of the Pritzker-winning architecture firm SANAA, were recognized with the MCHAP Award, the MCHAP Chair at IIT Architecture Chicago for the following academic year, and $50,000 in funding toward research and publication.

Grace Farms, the River building, Library, featuring Thomas Demand’s Farm 56 (2015):
Grace Farms, the River building, Library
photo © Iwan Baan

Grace Farms New Canaan by SANAA Architects wins 2014/2015 MCHAP

Oct 6, 2015

Grace Farms Foundation Center, New Canaan

Design: SANAA Architects

Location: New Canaan, Connecticut, USA

Grace Farms to Open this Friday, October 9


Grace Farms Foundation to Herald Opening with Press Preview, Inaugural Ceremony and Aloe Blacc Benefit Concert on October 9 and Community Day on October 10

Grace Farms New Canaan
photo of Grace Farms, the River building; © Dean Kaufman, 2015

Grace Farms, a new center for nature, arts, community, justice and faith, in New Canaan, CT., opens with a press preview, inaugural ceremony and Aloe Blacc benefit concert this Friday, October 9, 2015, followed by a community day on Saturday, October 10.

THE RIVER – A central feature of Grace Farms is a 83,000-square-foot multi-use building called the “River,” designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning architects SAANA to blend into the surrounding 80 acres of woodlands, wetlands and meadows. The building begins on a knoll and flows down the long, gentle slope in a series of bends, forming pond-like spaces on the way. This is the first project by SANAA completed in the US since the firm’s receipt of the Pritzker Prize in 2010.

Grace Farms by SANAA
photo © Iwan Baan

COMMISSIONS – Artworks commissioned from leading contemporary artists for the opening include an outdoor sound installation by Susan Philipsz; photographs of iterations of SANAA’s models for Grace Farms by Thomas Demand; and a mural by Teresita Fernández. Grace Farms has also acquired a textile work by Olafur Eliasson, and expects to incorporate two additional commissions by spring 2016: a light-based work by Eliasson and a collage by Beatriz Milhazes. Additionally, Milhazes’ work Canela (Cinnamon), 2010, will be on view during the opening.

Grace Farms by SANAA
photo © Iwan Baan

LANDSCAPE – Approximately 77 of the 80 acres of Grace Farms are open meadows, woods, wetlands and ponds. The landscape design, by SANAA in collaboration with OLIN, integrates community gardens, athletic fields and trails, while preserving and enhancing the existing habitat for native flora and fauna.

Sep 19, 2015

Grace Farms Foundation Center in New Canaan

Design: Kazuyo Sejima & Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA, Architects

Grace Farms to Herald Opening with Two Day Celebration Oct 9 – 10


Inauguration to Feature Performances by Paul Taylor Dance Company, New Chamber Ballet,
Broadway Inspirational Voices and Matthew Rushing

Presentations Will Include Conversations with Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA,
Architects of Grace Farms’ River Building, and Krishna Patel, Newly Appointed Director of Justice Initiatives at Grace Farms

Concert by Aloe Blacc to Benefit Grace Farms Foundation Justice Initiatives

Grace Farms by SANAA
photo © Iwan Baan

NEW CANAAN, CT, September 17, 2015 — Grace Farms, a new center for nature, arts, community, justice and faith, will open October 9, 2015 with two days of special performances, public talks and family programs. The opening celebration will highlight the core initiatives of Grace Farms Foundation, which established the center in New Canaan, CT as an 80-acre gift of open space. Grace Farms incorporates an 83,000-square-foot multi-use building and covered walkways called the River, which the Pritzker Prize-winning architecture studio SANAA designed to blend almost transparently into the surrounding woodlands, wetlands and meadows.

Grace Farms by SANAA
photo © Iwan Baan

“We look forward to welcoming the public and sharing the multitude of programmed and unstructured experiences that Grace Farms offers,” said Sharon Prince, President of Grace Farms Foundation. “The intersection of landscape, architecture, art, faith, justice and community will create a new kind of space for visitors and non-profits to collaborate for good. We invite people to shape their own personal experiences at Grace Farms, take a quiet nature walk and have a cup of tea, join an art and architecture tour, see a performance, take part in a justice initiative or reflect on your faith. The possibilities are as open as the landscape itself.”

Grace Farms by SANAA
photo © Iwan Baan

The two-day inaugural celebration, which kicks off on Friday, October 9 at 5:30 pm, will feature artists, performers, speakers and non-profit partners who have established relationships with Grace Farms. Activities include the unveiling of site-specific commissioned artworks by Thomas Demand, Teresita Fernández and Susan Philipsz, as well as a textile piece created by Olafur Eliasson. Dance performances will feature Paul Taylor Dance Company, New Chamber Ballet and Broadway Inspirational Voices in collaboration with Matthew Rushing. Brazilian-influenced jazz group Anne Boccato Ensemble and the Jake Goldbas Ensemble will provide musical entertainment throughout the weekend.

A benefit concert in support of Grace Farms’ justice program headed by the Foundation’s newly appointed Director of Justice Initiatives Krishna Patel, former Deputy Chief, National Security & Major Crimes, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, will feature singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc on the evening of October 9. Proceeds will support a new initiative developed by Grace Farms Foundation in collaboration with law enforcement to explore the use of technological platforms to stop child trafficking in the state of Connecticut. Conversations with Patel and Next Generation Nepal founder Conor Grennan also will be held over the opening weekend.

Grace Farms in New Canaan
picture of the River building at Grace Farms, by SANAA

On Saturday, October 10, visitors of all ages will be welcomed to discover Grace Farms and experience its breadth of offerings on Community Day. Family-friendly events include a cookout at Grace Farms’ SANAA-designed barbecue grill; the acrobatic The Red Trouser Show; a hand drum making workshop; a children’s book drive; a collaborative concert; and screenings of Don’t Foil My Plans, a film by Ben Stamper about growing up with autism.

In addition to open opportunities to explore the 80 acres of woodlands, wetlands and meadows at Grace Farms, activities highlighting nature and the surrounding landscape include a conversation with architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA and a public bulb planting.

Grace Farms Foundation’s commemorative book, and souls are candles, an anthology of contemporary poems and theological prose, will be presented with a reading by editor Christian Wiman, former editor of Poetry Magazine and senior lecturer at Yale Divinity School and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. Grace Community Church, a local nondenominational church which has been granted permanent space at Grace Farms, will host a food drive on October 10 for the New Canaan Food Pantry and will initiate weekly services on October 11.

A private inaugural celebration will be held during the day on October 9, with remarks; a commissioned music and dance performance featuring Matthew Rushing, New Chamber Ballet and the Stamford Symphony; an installation by performance artist Lia Chavez; and an artists panel moderated by Yuko Hasegawa, Grace Farms’ Curatorial Advisor and Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. To launch “New Place/New Works,” a Grace Farms initiative dedicated to providing space for artists to create new work, Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance will host an open rehearsal as the company learns repertory by Doug Elkins in preparation for their upcoming season at Lincoln Center.

A full schedule of opening weekend events is below. Upcoming programming at Grace Farms is listed on the organization’s newly launched website

Grace Farms building New Canaan by SANAA

Integrating Architecture with Landscape

Known as the River because of the way it meanders through the rolling terrain, the SANAA building at Grace Farms begins on a knoll and then flows down the long, gentle slope in a series of bends, forming pond-like spaces on its journey. Structurally, the building of glass, concrete, steel and wood is in essence a single long roof, which seems to float some 10 to 14 feet above the surface of the ground as it twists and turns across the landscape. The walkways, courtyards and glass-wrapped volumes that form beneath the roof are remarkably transparent and invite people to engage with the expansive natural surroundings.

The glass-walled volumes of the River are the

• Sanctuary: a sanctuary/indoor amphitheater with seating for 700 (20,900 sf)
• Library: a staffed library with resources to research justice, the arts, nature, architecture and faith, with a glass-enclosed conference room and fireplace for discussion and hospitality, as well as Grace Farms Foundation offices (4,550 sf)
• Commons: a dining room and living room, with capacity for 300, with communal tables built from trees harvested on-site, a coffee bar, sofas and fireplace (14,400 sf)
• Pavilion: a staffed pavilion where visitors can be oriented to the River building, enjoy a cup of tea or listen to intimate musical performances (950 sf)
• Court: a gymnasium/multi-purpose space built partially below grade, with adjoining media lab and game room, for recreation, youth activities, receptions and arts performances (16,900 sf)

In addition to the River building, the original barn located on site was renovated by SANAA. The West Barn will serve as a welcome center for Grace Farms and will house most of the day-to-day community programming in classrooms, an art studio, a rehearsal space with sprung floor and a lecture hall. The East Barn will be the home of the local nondenominational Grace Community Church, with offices, a lounge, a nursery and a drop-off food pantry.

The landscape design, by SANAA in collaboration with OLIN, integrates community gardens, athletic fields and trails within the 80 acres of Grace Farms, while preserving and enhancing the existing habitat for native flora and fauna. Several sustainability measures have been incorporated into the design including the creation of 55 500-foot-deep geothermal wells for heating and cooling of the River. Also, trees that were cleared for the construction of the River were milled on site to construct the furniture for Grace Farms, including the 18-foot-long community tables in the Commons. A SANAA designed playground is planned for spring 2016.

The Foundation unveiled SANAA’s design for Grace Farms in September 2012. The River will be the first project by SANAA to be completed in the United States following the firm’s receipt of the 2010 Pritzker Prize.

Grace Farms building by SANAA

Grace Farms Art Installations

Through the Foundation’s art programming, Grace Farms seeks to develop and present new, collaborative and site-specific works in the visual, literary and performing arts. To help launch the art program, several new commissioned art works will be unveiled for the opening.

As visitors explore the River building, they will encounter large-scale photographs by Thomas Demand in the Library, showing iterations of SANAA’s architectural models for Grace Farms arranged into abundant, layered compositions. In the Commons, visitors will experience Teresita Fernández’s Double Glass River, a site-specific installation made of thousands of small, handcrafted silvered glass cubes that reflect everything around them and bring the landscape indoors. At the overlook near the pond, visitors will hear Susan Philipsz’s three-channel sound installation, New Canaan, inspired by Shape Notes, a music notation designed to facilitate congregational and community singing.

Grace Farms also has acquired Olafur Eliasson’s Mat for multidimensional prayers (2014, editions 1 – 7 of 24), one of the few textile works created by the artist. The mats, woven from the wool of Icelandic grey sheep, will be available in the Sanctuary for sitting and viewing the landscape or reflective meditation.

The Foundation will commission additional site-specific works moving forward, including Suspended rain, a light-based work by Olafur Eliasson, as well as a collage by Beatriz Milhazes. In addition, Milhazes’ Canela (Cinnamon), 2010, will be on view in the Barn during the opening.

Grace Farms in New Canaan by SANAA building

Grace Farms Opening Schedule of Events

Below is an outline of public events scheduled throughout the opening celebration.

October 9, 5:30PM – 9:30PM
5:30PM Performances by Jake Goldbas Ensemble
Open Studio hosted by non-profit partner Arts for Healing
5:45PM Justice program conversation with Krishna Patel
Indie pop gospel The Welcome Wagon featuring Andrew Gregory
6:15PM Paul Taylor Dance Company performance of Promethean Fire
7:30PM Benefit Concert featuring Aloe Blacc (ticketed)

Olafur Eliasson’s Little Sun solar-powered lamps will be displayed on site and sold to benefit the 1.1 billion people without access to electricity.

October 10, 10AM – 5PM, Community Day
10:00AM Open Studio hosted by non-profit partner Arts for Healing
Mad Science Workshop: Alternative Energy/Art/Nature for Kids
10:30AM Children’s reading and bulb planting
11:30AM Community BBQ
11:30AM Performances of Brazilian-influenced jazz by Anne Boccato Ensemble
12:00PM Justice program conversation on child trafficking with Krishna Patel and Conor Grennan, Founder of Next Generation Nepal
1:00PM SANAA lecture and Q&A
1:45PM Poetry reading and book launch of and souls are candles with editor Christian Wiman
2:30PM Live video shoot with indie pop gospel band The Welcome Wagon
2:45PM Screening of Don’t Foil My Plans, film and discussion with Director Ben Stamper
Kids hand drum making workshop by James Moss
3:45PM Collaborative performance by Broadway Inspirational Voices and Matthew Rushing

Other activities offered throughout the day include a bulb planting station, demonstrations by plein air painters, tea ceremonies and opportunities to contribute to the Grace Community Church Food Drive for the New Canaan Food Pantry.

Grace Farms New Canaan building in landscape
photograph © Iwan Baan

About Grace Farms Foundation

Grace Farms Foundation is a private operating foundation with 501c3 status, established in New Canaan, Connecticut in 2009 to support initiatives in the areas of the arts, justice, community and faith. Supported by individual gifts and (in the future) program revenues, the Foundation will carry out its work principally through the facilities and programs of Grace Farms, an 80-acre property that the Foundation owns and is developing and managing for the benefit of New Canaan, the local nondenominational Grace Community Church and the greater community.

Grace Farms New Canaan image / information received 170915

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