Last night at a benefit dinner held Illinois Institute of Technology’s S. R. Crown Hall, Grace Farms—a project of the Pritzker Prize-winning firm SANAA—was honored with the 2014/2015 Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP). Architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa designed the undulating pavilion, which opened in October 2015 and appeared on RECORD’s November cover, for the nonprofit Grace Farms Foundation.
Known as the River, the building meanders down a hill in New Canaan, Connecticut, with six glazed volumes connected by a long, snaking aluminum roof, reminiscent of the firm’s 2009 Serpentine Pavilion. Art is installed throughout the pavilion, including works by Thomas Demand and Teresita Fernández.
Stan Allen, former dean of Princeton’s School of Architecture, served as president of the MCHAP jury, which selected Grace Farms as winner of the prize. “As a jury, we were looking not only for buildings of exceptional quality, but also for buildings that contribute something new to the discipline,” he said in a statement. The jury also chose the six finalists, which included the Weekend House in São Paulo by Angelo Bucci; the UTEC Campus by Grafton Architects in Lima, Peru; Michael Maltzan’s Star Apartments in Los Angeles; Tower 41 in Mexico City by Alberto Kalach; and Pachacamac Museum by Llosa Cortegana in Lima, Peru.
“Among a strong group of projects Grace Farms emerged as a clear winner for the clarity and consistency of its architectural solution,” said Allen. “The jury was struck by the radical way in which the line between architecture and landscape is blurred by the River building.”
Sejima and Nishizawa win of the MCHAP Award is accompanied by the MCHAP chair at IIT Architecture Chicago for the next academic year and $50,000 in funding toward research and publication.
Also last night, the new MCHAP.student was given to Tommy Kyung-Tae Nam and Yun Yun from the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan.
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