Grace Farms River Building / 2015


Executive ArchitectHandel Architects

The Grace Farms River Building was developed on the sprawling 80 acre (32 hectare) expanse of Grace Farms in New Canaan, Connecticut to enable patrons to experience nature while fostering community. The architects at SANAA designed the 86,000 ft2 (8,000 m2) structure to follow the existing topography with an intentionally airy footprint that minimizes its impact on natural surroundings and seems to dissolve the barrier of the built environment.

The building is constructed of concrete, steel, wood, and a near-transparent glass-walled envelope. The continuous winding roof slopes gently to connect a series of indoor and outdoor spaces intended for public use including a 700-seat amphitheater; a 3,300 ft2 (300 m2) library; a 6,900 ft2 (640 m2) dining room and living room (with capacity for 300); a 950 ft2 (88 m2) welcome center; and a 7,500 ft2 (700 m2) gymnasium/multi-purpose space for recreational activities and performances.

Front provided design and analytical services for the custom entrances, curved glass walls, and roof cladding from schematic design through construction administration. We also provided geometric optimization services and worked in close collaboration with fabricators worldwide to develop mock-ups for iterating through system design concepts.