Grace Farms Pavilion by SANAA in New Canaan, USA | Yellowtrace
Grace Farms, the River building. Photo © Iwan Baan.

Grace Farms Pavilion by SANAA in New Canaan, USA | Yellowtrace
Grace Farms, the River building, Pavilion. Photo © Iwan Baan.

Grace Farms Pavilion by SANAA in New Canaan, USA | Yellowtrace
Grace Farms, the River building, Commons. Photo © Iwan Baan.

Grace Farms Pavilion by SANAA in New Canaan, USA | Yellowtrace
Grace Farms, the River building, Library, featuring Thomas Demand’s Farm 56 (2015). Photo © Iwan Baan.

Grace Farms Pavilion by SANAA in New Canaan, USA | Yellowtrace
Grace Farms, the River building, Commons. Photo © Iwan Baan.

 

If it looks like a snake, walks like a snake and slithers across upstate New York like one, does it make it of reptilian-decent? Far from it, actually. SANAA‘s Grace Farms in New Canaan is the latest offering from the Japanese firm to continue to take its stake on the US. New Canaan, where the building is located, is not known for its affluence, silver-spooned patronage, and artist draw. This gem only adds to the allure. As a result of the likes of the famous few that live in this area, those who have been inspired and those that have merely attended star-studded parties here, it really is the place to be. Grace Farms is a collective foundation that supports this long-standing artist community; it’s a gallery, function space, gathering place and a general ‘you’ve got to see this’ kind of gig as well. It’s pretty impressive.

The reference to something that slithers might be a little venomous for some, so let’s go with ‘river’, for all sakes and purposes. It seems this ‘river’-inspired form is a response to the landscape, its undulations and is an obvious response to its organic surroundings. The building literally falls in-between the folds of the landscape, and makes it way up and down the hill. More importantly though, Grace Farms seems to be at the core about community and about bringing together different arts groups. It’s about paving an organic path, a natural flow of things, through existing things. SANAA saw this as an opportunity to bring together the language of their work, an organic and unconventional approach, together with the art within the space. And it actually works.

 

Grace Farms Pavilion by SANAA in New Canaan, USA | Yellowtrace
Grace Farms, the River building, Court. Photo © Iwan Baan.

Grace Farms Pavilion by SANAA in New Canaan, USA | Yellowtrace
Grace Farms, the River building, Sanctuary. Photo © Iwan Baan.

Grace Farms Pavilion by SANAA in New Canaan, USA | Yellowtrace
Grace Farms, the River building. Photo © Dean Kaufman.

 

There are numerous examples of re-imagined traditional galleries, and even more with sloping floors, but this one is different. There’s something different living in this space. Its no secret that this place will act as a major pull to the already architecturally and artsy rich area. A destination in itself, it will house exhibitions, events and functions. It’s a building that is supposedly about a richness of the process, exploring it, and the space itself, as you literally move through it. There are spaces designed for discussions, presentations, courtyards, exhibitions and functions. All these spaces exist under one floating roof type structure, which seems to hover above all the action; unassuming, but with a watchful eye.

At just over 83,000sq.ft (7,700sq.m) in size, and including some of the best sound and lighting installations one can imagine, this concrete, steel, glass and wood number doesn’t offend. It instead adds a softening touch to the surrounding fauna (animals) and flora (you can work that out), which is quite humbling. Not just another big name strapping a new big structure to an un-wanting wearer. This one actually fits. Which is nice.

I don’t know about you, but I’m booking the next available train to check out this glowing nugget. Not only does this give an excuse for New Yorkers to get out of the city (not that they need it), but it gives them something culturally impressive to boast to their friends in their next Soho loft party, while quaffing some of their finest. Well done SANAA.

 


[Images courtesy of Grace Farms. Photography by Iwan Baan & Dean Kaufman.]

 

About The Author

Bronwyn Marshall
Contributor

Spawn from the peaceful pastures of Adelaide, Bronwyn is inspired by the undiscovered. With travel as her main muse and together with a belief that architecture and design can facilitate a better world, she currently finds herself living and working in NYC. An Architect and designer of over eight years, she thrives on interpreting other people’s passions into manifested realities. Listening to and seeing new worlds through her own lens has seen her work and study on an international scale; in Europe, Australia and currently, in the US. Influenced by minimalism in all its glory, in practice and everyday life, her obvious influencers are notably the Scandinavian and Japanese design greats. Her work spans residential, hospitality, retail, health, education and industrial portfolios and has a strong passion for Humanitarian work and the real possibilities of design thinking in the developing world. She thinks big and laterally, and open to musings from all directions. Naive or otherwise, she really does believe design can make a difference.

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