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  Glacier Blue® Architectural Topics & News     
          Monthly Newsletter
November 2016
In This Issue


Topic of the Month: The River Building at Grace Farms

Architectural Firm of the Month: SANAA Architects

Helpful Links for Architects     

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Welcome to the November issue of our newsletter! In each issue we present you with interesting and informative articles about the various projects architects and designers are working on around the country. If there is a project you would like to share with us, please contact us and tell us about it! Your project could be featured in one of our upcoming issues of this newsletter. To learn more about our "high-end" cut-to-size Glacier Blue® Devonian Sandstone products, please click here to visit our website.

Photograph Copyright Iwan Baan

SANAA was founded in in 1995 by architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, SANAA is world-renowned for its light buildings grounded in the architects' Japanese cultural origins. The extensive use of glass in SANAA's architecture has quite a different effect than seen in most glass buildings, as SANAA uses the glass to create reflections and layered spaces with unclear boundaries. Also, the architects tend to use playful elements in their architecture, adding a note of humor to the experience.

For more information visit:

Photograph Copyright Iwan Baan

This fall, Grace Farms in New Canaan, Connecticut celebrated its one-year anniversary as the new cultural and community center for nature, arts, justice, community and faith. The 83,000-square-foot multi-use building was designed by SANAA Architects and is known as The River because of the way it meanders through the rolling landscape. Architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA won the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2010, the profession's highest honor. SANAA's design was unveiled in September 2012 and the project was completed in 2015.

The River begins on a knoll and flows down a long, gentle slope in a series of bends, forming pond-like spaces on its journey. Structurally, the building of glass, concrete, steel and wood is in essence a single long roof, which appears to float ten to fourteen feet above the surface of the ground as it twists and turns across the countryside.
Sharon Prince, President of The Grace Farms Foundation, explains, "We enjoy welcoming the public and sharing the multitude of programmed and unstructured experiences that Grace Farms offers. The intersection of landscape, architecture, art and community creates a new kind of space for visitors and non-profits to collaborate for good. We invite people to shape their own personal experiences, take a quiet nature walk, join an art and architecture tour, see a performance, take part in a justice initiative or reflect on their faith. The possibilities are as open as the landscape itself," referring to SANAA's design which blends almost transparently into the surrounding woodlands, wetlands and meadows.

SANAA's goal for the design was, "to make the architecture of The River become part of the landscape without 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."

The glass-walled volumes of The River consist of a 20,900 square foot sanctuary/indoor amphitheater with seating for 700; a 4,550 square foot staffed library with a glass-enclosed conference room and fireplace; a 14,400 square foot Commons area with a dining room and living room and coffee bar; a 950 square foot staffed pavilion where visitors can enjoy a cup of tea or listen to musical performances; and a 16,900 square foot gymnasium/multi-purpose space with adjoining media lab and game room for recreation, youth activities, receptions and arts performances.

Photograph Copyright A. Zahner Co.
The enclosed portion of The River is over 56,000 square feet, and the covered exterior pathway is nearly 25,500 square feet. Everything is linked together by a single curving anodized aluminum roof manufactured by Zahner. The River is approximately 150 feet wide at maximum, 25 feet wide at minimum and varies in height from 10 feet to 14 feet. The building is approximately 1,400 feet long, but because of its switchbacks, it sits on an expanse of land that is approximately 700 feet long.

The West Barn serves as a welcome center for Grace Farms and houses most of the day-to-day community programming in classrooms, an art studio, a rehearsal space with sprung floor and a lecture hall. The East Barn is the home of the local nondenominational Grace Community Church, with offices, a lounge, a nursery and a drop-off food pantry.

The landscape design, by SANAA in collaboration with OLIN, integrates community gardens, athletic fields and trails while preserving and enhancing the existing habitat for native flora and fauna.

Several sustainability measures have been incorporated into the design including the creation of 55 500-foot-deep geothermal wells for heating and cooling of The River. Trees that were cleared for the construction of the River were milled on site to construct furniture, including the 18-foot-long community tables in the Commons.

The Grace Farms Foundation was established in 2009 as a private operating foundation with 501c3 status. Grace Farms is a gift of open space to the community and admission is free. Public hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 pm, and Sunday noon to 6 pm. For more information visit:

Photograph Copyright Iwan Baan

Helpful Links for Architects

AIA Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN) 

The Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN), a Knowledge Community of The American Institute of Architects, is committed to the promotion of all residential architecture based on architectural content irrespective of style. For more information visit:  

AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community

The AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community provides leadership and expertise to practitioners of interior architecture and design, working cooperatively with its members and other interiors organizations to address relevant, timely practice issues, markets, and trends, such as licensing, liability, environmental, and technological considerations. Through the Interior Architecture Knowledge Community, important links are maintained with allied professionals, service providers, and manufacturers. If you wish to become a member of the AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community, call AIA Member Services at 800-242-3837, or visit: 


Architect Online's Continuing Education Center

Architect Online's Online Continuing Education Center gives professionals a convenient way to earn necessary continuing education credits without having to set foot in a classroom. The courses listed, sponsored by the companies noted, are accessible from anywhere you can establish an online connection. Just register, read the required material, and then take the test, either through a downloadable mail-in form, or free via a secure online connection, depending on the course. You'll be able to maintain your professional credentials, at your pace, and at a location that works for you. Visit: 


Architectural Record Continuing Education Center

Architectural Record magazine has a free Continuing Education Center where architects can earn AIA Continuing Education Credits online. Visit:

Architectural Record Discussion Forums

The McGraw Hill Construction Community, publisher of Architectural Record, has provided architects with a forum to express ideas, opinions, suggestions, and gripes. The discussion forums are open to all, and include topics such as Green Building Projects, Virtual Design, Practice Matters and a forum for younger architects. Visit:

CORA - Congress of Residential Architecture 

CORA is a grass root organization that encourages our members to participate in the dialog of improving residential architecture in a way that suits them best. The purpose of the CORA is to provide a continuing forum for advocating and enhancing residential architecture by all individuals, both professionals and non-professionals, that share a common interest in improving the quality of the homes and communities we live in. Visit: 

The Green Meeting Industry Council

The Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) is a non profit 501(c)(6) membership-based organization. Their goal is to encourage collaboration within the meetings industry toward the development of green standards that will improve the environmental performance of meetings and events on a global basis. The GMIC is the only professional green meetings organization that is a member of the Convention Industry Council. For more information visit: 


The World Architecture Community
The World Architecture Community invites all architects to create a free profile on their website. The World Architecture Portal is a unique comprehensive international directory and catalog of contemporary architecture where all architects, scholars and institutions may submit their work and links to share with colleagues from around the world.
For more information visit:

We hope you enjoyed our informative monthly e-newsletter. For questions, comments or more information, please e-mail or call us today.





Liz Benton, Editor 
Glacier Blue® Architectural Topics & News
Devonian Stone of New York, Inc.

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