SANAA's Grace Farms Wins the 2014/2015 Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize

SANAA’s Grace Farms has been announced as the winner of the 2014/2015 Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP), recognizing the most distinguished architectural works built on the North and South American continents.

The project was selected from a shortlist of seven finalists, joining Alvaro Siza’s Iberê Camargo Foundation and Herzog & de Meuron’s 1111 Lincoln Road as winners of the highly-regarded prize.

“Among a strong group of projects Grace Farms emerged as a clear winner for the clarity and consistency of its architectural solution,” said 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.”

 Learn more about the project after the break.

SANAA's Grace Farms Wins the 2014/2015 Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize - More Images+ 6

© Iwan Baan

Grace Farms’ building, which spreads beneath a long, undulating roof, follows the landscape and floats in the center of the site. Winding and crossing the hills freely, this wood-frame structure, now known as the River, creates numerous covered outdoor spaces while also forming courtyards. Since opening to the public in October 2015, Grace Farms has functioned as both a peaceful respite and a place of vibrant activity. The River building draws people in to engage with the site’s natural landscape and serves as the springboard for Grace Farms’ mission and programs. Within the first six months, approximately 50,000 people visited Grace Farms to participate in architectural tours, community dinners, lectures and discussions, concerts, athletics, and worship services—or to explore the 80-acre site on an individual basis.

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

New Canaan provided a context in which Eliot Noyes, Marcel Breuer, Philip Johnson, and others helped to rethink residential modernism in the United States. Mies was a direct influence in New Canaan through his influence on Johnson, and the architectural design for Grace Farms builds in part on Mies’s legacy, including his 1928 vision of a skyscraper with curved glass. Although Mies and Johnson were not direct models, they helped set the aspiration for transcendent lightness: a structure that would float on the landscape while also being fully integrated with it.

© Iwan Baan

SANNA Founders Kazuko Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa 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.

© Dean Kaufman

Also announced was the winner of the newly established student award, MCHAP.student. The award, given to “the most outstanding project by a 2015/2016 graduating student that addresses the metropolis through an architectural proposal,” was presented to “(a)typical office” by Tommy Kyung-Tae Nam and Yun Yun from the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. 

You can see more about (a)typical office, here.

© Iwan Baan

The full jury for the 2014-2015 MCHAP Americas Prize composed of Wiel Arets, Dean of the College of Architecture and Rowe Family College of Architecture Dean Endowed Chair at Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago Florencia Rodriguez, architect, critic, and Founder and Editorial Director of Piedra, Papel y Tijera publishers in Buenos Aires, Argentina Ila Berman, Dean and Edward E. Elson Professor, University of Virginia School of Architecture, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA Jean Pierre Crousse, Principal of Barclay & Crousse Architecture, co-founded with Sandra Barclay in France in 1994 Associate Professor of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Lima, Peru and Stan Allen, registered architect in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania and former Dean of the School of Architecture at Princeton University.

Grace Farms on Community Day. Image © Dean Kaufman

In making their decision, the jury travelled to each of the finalist sites to experience the projects firsthand.

“There may be a global architecture culture today, but each place we visited had its own identity and every project responded to a specific context. As a jury we also observed common themes: All of the projects, even those in urban areas, engage with landscape they all embrace architecture as a force for change and finally, all of them find a delicate balance between innovation and the history of the discipline,” remarked Allen.

You can learn more about the MCHAP Americas Prize at the IIT website, here.

News via MCHAP.

Grace Farms / SANAA

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Cite: Patrick Lynch. "SANAA's Grace Farms Wins the 2014/2015 Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize" 19 Oct 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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