Nationally recognized businessperson Sharon Prince is the driving force behind the Grace Farms Foundation. Several years ago, she thought that where she lives, New Canaan, Connecticut, could use a community center. She started business foundation, which is nonprofit and tax-exempt, by buying an 80-acre space and having an award-winning building placed on it. It cost $120 million, including the land.
She hired Sanaa to design the building. This is a Japanese architecture firm which has won the Pritzker Prize for some of their work. The design incorporated five works of art. Grace Farms is a multifunctional space that includes a community garden, gym, space for social justice groups, an area for faith-based activities, and a nature center.
The building Sanaa built is called the River. It snakes down the hill and has five main sections. All of the exterior “walls” are floor-to-ceiling glass. Sharon Prince Grace Farms said that River is just what they were hoping for. “They” refers to her along with 100 generous donors who made Grace Farms and River possible.
The Sanctuary is a section of River that is used for faith-based activities. It can seat 700 people and holds Sunday Services. This space was blessed by Cliff Knecthtle when it opened. He is the pastor of the nondenominational Grace Community Church. This space had been a barn that was converted by Sanaa. On just the first day it was open to the public 2,500 people visited Grace Farms.
An important thing to know about Grace Farms is that they welcome people no matter what their faith is or if they do not have one at all. Sharon Prince wants it to be a welcoming space for anyone who wants to view art and find out about the important issues of the day.
Read More: www.pentagram.com/work/grace-farms/story