Named the River Building in reference to its ribbon-like roof, the building frames both public facilities and meandering walkways for Grace Farms, which is an 80-acre (32-hectare) cultural and humanitarian center in New Canaan, Connecticut, United States. Designed by architect SANAA with Handel Architects, the River Building blends into its natural surroundings, minimally impacting views across a site that was once gently sloping farmland.
River Building blends into its natural surroundings, minimally impacting views across a site that was once gently sloping farmland
The building is in essence under a single long roof, which floats above the ground. The transparent walls of the River Building are created from curved glass panels to curate perspectives of the expansive natural surroundings. A glass-enclosed corridor that snakes down a lush hillside, the building is almost a living organism, widening to accommodate internal organs in the form of functional spaces. The fluid integration of inside and outside space produces environments that are rich in social and spiritual potential. The River’s program includes an indoor amphitheater, library, community dining space, and multi-purpose recreational space. The original barn on site was renovated for new classrooms, an art studio, a rehearsal space, and a lecture hall.
“The intersection of landscape, architecture, art, faith, justice and community will create a new kind of space for visitors and non-profits to collaborate for good,” said Sharon Prince, president of Grace Farms Foundation. “We invite people to shape their own personal experiences at Grace Farms, take a quiet nature walk and have a cup of tea, join an art and architecture tour, see a performance, take part in a justice initiative or reflect on your faith,” she added. “The possibilities are as open as the landscape itself.”