Just around the river bend...

25 Sep 2012

SANAA’s ‘River’ Building at Grace Farms, Connecticut unveiled

Proposed plans for the SANAA-designed ‘River’ Building were unveiled today by Grace Farms, a not-for-profit charitable organization that is hoping to receive town approval to build a pavilion-like structure, which if built will be the first US-based project for the Japanese design firm since winning the Pritzker Prize in 2010.

The building will be sited on a sliver of a 75-acre site that the Foundation is preserving for the community as permanent open space in a landscape designed by the Philadelphia firm, OLIN.

Nestled into the rolling landscape of Grace Farms, amid meadows, woods, wetlands and lakes that will be preserved into perpetuity, the SANAA design begins on a knoll and then flows and meanders down the long, gentle slope in a series of bends, forming ‘pondlike’ spaces on its journey.

To be built of glass, concrete, steel and wood the structure is in its essence a single long roof that seems to float some 10ft above the surface mirroring the natural twists and turns of the landscape along the way. Beneath the roof are walkways, courtyards and glass wrapped volume.

Speaking about the design, Kazuyo Sejima of SANAA said: “Our goal with the River is to make the architecture become part of the landscape without drawing attention to itself, or even feeling like a building. We hope that those who are on the property will have greater enjoyment of the beautiful environment and changing season through the space and experience created by the River.”

The River winds through a little more than an acre of 75-acre site and is estimated to cost $50-60m. The Planning and Zoning Commission of New Canaan is expected to rule on the application by the end of 2012.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent

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