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  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Landscape Architecture
  4. United States
  5. SANAA
  6. 2015
  7. Grace Farms / SANAA

Grace Farms / SANAA

  • 11:00 - 14 October, 2015
Grace Farms / SANAA
Grace Farms / SANAA, © Dean Kaufman
© Dean Kaufman

© Dean Kaufman © Dean Kaufman © Dean Kaufman © Dean Kaufman +36

  • Landscape Architects

  • Executive Architect

    Handel Architects
  • Project Manager

    Paratus Group
  • MEP Engineer and Lighting

    Buro Happold
  • Structural Engineer

    Robert Silman Associates
  • Civil Engineer

    McChord Engineering
  • Sustainability Consultant

  • Building Envelope

  • Glazing

    Roschmann Steel & Glass
  • Roofing

  • Acoustics

    Harvey Marshall Berling Associates, Nagata Acoustics
  • Geotechnical Engineer

    Langan Engineering
  • Geothermal Designer

    Alderson Engineering
  • Meadow Consultant

    Larry Weaver Landscape
  • Soils and Wetlands

    Environmental Planning Services
  • Conservation Planning and Herpetologist

    Michael W. Klemens LLC
  • Graphics

  • More SpecsLess Specs

Project Description

Creation of a multipurpose building and landscape design for Grace Farms, an 80-acre natural environment in New Canaan, Connecticut that the non-profit Grace Farms Foundation is preserving as a gift of open space for people to experience nature, encounter the arts, pursue justice, foster community and explore faith. The facilities of the building will be made available by the Foundation to Grace Community Church and other select nonprofit and community groups, and will be the site for pub- lic amenities and programs ranging from coffee and tea service, discussions, intimate concerts and family-friendly art classes and athletics to a curated, multi-disciplinary series of cultural projects and events.

Building Plan. 1. Sanctuary, 2. Library, 3. Office, 4. Commons, 5. Pavilion, 6. Court, 7. Hall | Rehearsal Space, 8. Meeting Rooms, 9. Art Studio, 10. Plaza, 11. Offices, 12. Lounge, 13. Athletic Field
Building Plan. 1. Sanctuary, 2. Library, 3. Office, 4. Commons, 5. Pavilion, 6. Court, 7. Hall | Rehearsal Space, 8. Meeting Rooms, 9. Art Studio, 10. Plaza, 11. Offices, 12. Lounge, 13. Athletic Field

Section 2. 1. Dining Room, 2. Living Room, 3. Corridor, 4. Mechanical / Electrical Room, 5. Mechanical / Electrical Room Site Plan. 1. River Building, 2. Barn, 3. Athletic Field, 4. Wetlands, 5. Pond Overall Elevation Section 3. 1. Game / Meeting Room, 2. Court, 3. Media Lab, 4. Mechanical / Electrical Room +36


Approximately 77 of the 80 acres of Grace Farms are being retained in perpetuity as open meadows, woods, wetlands and ponds. OLIN’s design preserves and enhances the existing habitat for native flora and fauna while integrating a community garden, athletic fields and a SANAA-designed playground and trails. Trees that were cleared for construction are being milled on site to construct the furniture for Grace Farms, including 18- foot-long community tables. Fifty-five 500-foot-deep geothermal wells have been drilled on the property for heating and cooling. Seventy percent of mowed areas will be returned to natural meadows by Larry Weaner Landscape Associates.

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

© Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan +36

Architectural Directive

In its architectural brief, the Foundation asked for a venue of “cultural interest and curiosity via open space, architecture, art and design in order to provide people with an opportunity to:

  1. Experience Nature: Our aim is to draw people into this beautiful landscape, to enhance one’s experience of nature through all five senses, and to allow nature itself to inspire in us an experience of awe.
  2. Foster Community: We hope to provide a warm, welcoming environment that fosters personal relationships through passive and active, social and artistic activities.
  3. Pursue Justice: We will offer resources and feature opportunities to improve lives by helping others, showing mercy and advancing justice together.
  4. Explore Faith: We aspire to create an environment for reflection, study, discussion and worship.” 

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

Architectural Concept

SANAA’s goal was to make the architecture of the River become part of the landscape without drawing attention to itself, or even feeling like a building, with the hope that those who are on the property will have a greater enjoyment of the beautiful environment and changing seasons through the spaces and experience created by the River.

© Dean Kaufman
© Dean Kaufman
© Dean Kaufman
© Dean Kaufman

Design Highlights

Nestled into the rolling landscape of Grace Farms, the River begins on a knoll and then flows down the long, gentle slope (a change in grade of 43 ft – 9 in) in a series of bends, forming pondlike spaces on its journey. Structurally, the building of glass, concrete, steel and wood is in essence a single long roof, which seems to float above the surface of the ground as it twists and turns across the landscape. The walkways, courtyards and glasswrapped volumes that form beneath the roof are remarkably transparent and invite people to engage with the expansive natural surroundings.

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Grace Farms / SANAA" 14 Oct 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


Marco · October 16, 2015

Someone explains to me why the wood beams doesn't connect with the steel beam? They end before

mv · October 20, 2015 08:53 AM

I think the wooden ceiling is hiding the real size of the timber beams that are much thicker than they look. Above the ceiling, the beams are continuous, resting on top of the steel beam with hidden fasteners.

Jeff b · October 18, 2015 01:47 AM

That's the magic of Sanaa's structures, they look so simple but impossible at the same time.

Małgorzata · October 17, 2015 10:14 AM

If the wooden beams don't support the roof so what are they for?
Mybe they stiffen the roof which is quite large and thin. But it's only my guess.

David Alleg · October 15, 2015

The way they use the terrain slopes to configure the program! I'm speechless.

Pyort · October 15, 2015

I love the perspectives you can get of this building, a truly masterpiece, a SANAA's commission was missing so bad.

Jake Groth · October 14, 2015

I'm going to be a hater. SANAA can you please stop creating the same design?

Małgorzata · October 17, 2015 10:02 AM

I agree, though the building is nice.

jong · October 14, 2015 10:27 PM

Yes, you are such a hater. Please stop.


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© Dean Kaufman

格雷斯农场河畔建筑 / SANAA