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Grace Farms Complex Planned To Blend Into New Canaan Landscape

Grace Farms announced it will open to the public in the autumn of 2015.
Grace Farms announced it will open to the public in the autumn of 2015. Photo Credit: gracefarms.org

NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- Grace Farms in New Canaan has announced it will open to the public in the autumn of 2015 with an 86,000-square-foot multiuse building designed to blend seamlessly into a 75-acre woodland, wetland and meadow setting.

“We are thrilled that Grace Farms will begin welcoming the public in autumn 2015,” Sharon Prince,President of the Grace Farms Foundation, said in a statement. “Through this blending of landscape, architecture and multifaceted programs, with the arts running through them as a common thread, we hope to offer people a special place to share a quiet walk through the meadows, enjoy coffee or an intimate concert, pitch in with helping others for a worthy cause or get in touch with the deepest questions about the meaning of our lives."

The new building will be known as The River for the way it will meander through the rolling terrain. The River begins on a knoll and then flows down the long, gentle slope in a series of bends, forming pond-like spaces called volume areas in certain spaces.

The volume areas are slated to include:

  • An 11,000-square-foot sanctuary/indoor amphitheater with seating for 700;
  • A 3,300-square-foot staffed library with resources to research justice, the arts, nature,architecture and faith, with a glass-enclosed conference room with fireplace;
  • A 6,900-square-foot dining room and living room, with capacity for 300, with communal tables built from trees harvested on-site, a coffee bar, sofas and fireplace;
  • A 950-square-foot staffed welcome center where visitors can be oriented to Grace Farms, enjoy a cup of coffee or tea or listen to intimate musical performances; and
  • A 7,500-square-foot gymnasium/multipurpose space built partially below grade, with adjoining media lab and game room, for recreation, youth activities and arts performances.

The building will be primarily constructed using glass, concrete, steel and wood.

“Our goal with The River is to make the architecture become part of the landscape," Kazuyo Sejima, co-founder and co-principal of SANAA, the company selected to design the River, said in a statement. "We 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.”

The Grace Farms Foundation was founded in 2009 to support initiatives in the areas of faith, the arts, justice and community. The goal of Grace Farms is to help benefit the New Canaan Community as well as the Grace Community Church.

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