Grace Farms receives IIT architecture award

By Phil Hall

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The Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) has honored architects Kazuko Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa with the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize for their creation of the central building at the New Canaan-based community center Grace Farms.
The award, which recognizes architecture in the Western Hemisphere that was realized between January 2014 and December 2015, includes a $50,000 grant for architectural research and publication and a chaired faculty position at IIT in the next academic year.
Based on an 80-acre property, the award-winning structure is known as The River and encompasses a 700-seat amphitheater, a library, a sunken recreational space and a commons space where food and beverages are served. Sejima and Nishizawa, who are the founders of the SANAA architecture firm, described their vision for “a building that spreads beneath a long, undulating roof, which follows the landscape and floats in the center of the site.”
Grace Farms opened to the public in October 2015 and has become a popular attraction, welcoming more than 50,000 in its first six months. The Grace Farms Foundation that operates the property has provided more than 40 nonprofits to receive grants of program space at the site, and the non-denominational Grace Community Church holds its Sunday services in The River.

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