Grace Farms celebrates its 1st anniversary with special programme between October 8-15

  September 28, 2016 - 17:05   3729     Submitted by WA Contents

Grace Farms, a new cultural and community center with five programmatic initiatives in New Canaan, Connecticut, now celebrates its 1st anniversary with special programme between October 8-15, 2016. Owned and operated by Grace Farms Foundation and designed by Japanese architecture practice SANAA, the new cultural and community center dedicated to nature, arts, justice, community, and faith offers a wide range of activities for the celebration of Grace Farms' anniversary titled “Possibilities Are Endless,” - will include a public artwork opening and Foundation benefit, highlighting the breadth of Grace Farms’ programming over the past year.

Grace Farms, the River building. Image © Dean Kaufman

On October 8, Grace Farms will offer a free public unveiling of Moon Love Dreaming, a site-specific permanent artwork from renowned Brazilian artist, Beatriz Milhazes that extends the length of Grace Farms’ West Barn hallway (108 ft long). 

A commemorative event at 4 pm will feature a performance by Wendy Whelan, former principal dancer of New York City Ballet, and a reading by Li-Young Lee, winner of Lamont Poetry Selection from the Academy of American Poets. 

Grace Farms, Community Day. Image © Dean Kaufman

Milhazes will also join Grace Farms Foundation’s curatorial advisor, Yuko Hasegawa, artistic director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, to discuss the inspiration for her piece. The program will be followed by a champagne reception in the West Barn Hall. 

Milhazes’ mural is one of several site-specific art commissions and permanent art installations at Grace Farms, including works by Thomas Demand, Teresita Fernández, Olafur Eliasson, and Susan Philipsz.

Grace Farms, the River building. Image © Dean Kaufman

The anniversary programming will culminate with a benefit celebration on October 15, co-hosted with Grace Farms’ architects, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, of the Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese firm, SANAA. From 4–7:30 pm, Grace Farms Foundation will present in-and-outdoor experiences highlighting Grace Farms’ inaugural year and offering guests the opportunity to appreciate the expansive fall vistas.

Grace Farms, the River building, Commons. Image © Dean Kaufman

At 5 pm, attendees will hear from SANAA, renowned photographer Iwan Baan, and Grace Farms Foundation President, Sharon Prince, about architecture for social good, followed by a performance of Practicing Awe, a new work created at Grace Farms featuring Gallim Dance, Cindertalk, and countertenor Daniel Moody. 

Timed to coincide with the sunset from 6–7:30 pm, attendees can observe falconers flying hawks, enjoy jazz music and savor fine wine with a tasting led by Master of Wine, Christy Canterbury, and participate in artist Molly Gochman’s Red Sand Project to take action against human trafficking and exploitation.

Grace Farms Foundation has awarded space grants to 47 not-for-profit organizations. Grants of space are offered within the River building volumes, West Barn and 80-acre grounds. Image © Dean Kaufman

Throughout the anniversary week from October 11–14, and coinciding with the peak of Connecticut’s storied fall foliage, Grace Farms will offer special nature walks around the 80 acres of preserved meadows and woodlands and of the River building.

Grace Farms, Community Day. Image © Dean Kaufman

Grace Farms opened to the public on October 9, 2015. The 7,700 square meters (83,000 sf) multi-use building with its covered walkways is known as the River because of the way it meanders through the rolling terrain. With pre-existing structures—a residence, paddocks, and barn—the total built area at Grace Farms covers 7,150 square meters (77,000 sf). 

Grace Farms, the River Building, Library and Sanctuary. Image © Dean Kaufman

Enclosed space of the River is over 5,200 square meters (56,000 sf) and the covered exterior pathway is nearly 2,370 square meters (25,500 sf). The River is approximately 45,72 m (150 ft) wide at maximum, 8 m (25 ft) wide at minimum and varies in height from 3 m (10 ft) to 4 m (14 ft). The building is approximately 427 m (1,400 ft) long, but because of its switchbacks it sits on an expanse of land that is approximately 213 m (700 ft) long.

Grace Farms, Aerial View of the River building, Barns and pond. Image © Iwan Baan

SANAA’s design approach was to make the architecture become part of the landscape with- out drawing attention to itself, or even feeling like a building, with the hope that those who are on the property will have a greater enjoyment of the beautiful environment and changing seasons through the spaces and experience created by the River.

Grace Farms, the River building, Pavilion. Image © Iwan Baan

Structurally, the building of glass, concrete, steel, and wood has a single long roof, which appears to float above the ground as it twists and turns across the landscape. The walkways, courtyards, and transparent glass-wrapped volumes invite people to engage with the natural surroundings, and the exclusion of a front door makes visitors feel more welcome.

Grace Farms, the River building, Commons. Image © Iwan Baan

Grace Farms, the River building, perspective from meadows. Image © Iwan Baan

Grace Farms, the River building, Sanctuary, featuring Olafur Eliasson’s Mat for multidimensional prayers (2014). Image © Iwan Baan

Grace Farms, the River building, Court. Image © Iwan Baan

Grace Farms, the River building, Sanctuary. Image © Iwan Baan

Grace Farms, the River building, Library, featuring Thomas Demand’s Farm 56 (2015). Image © Iwan Baan

Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA at Grace Farms. Image © Dean Kaufman

Top image: Grace Farms, the River building. Image © Dean Kaufman

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