Grace Farm グレースファーム


A one hour train ride and another half hour drive by our friend brought us here to Grace Farm, designed by one of the most well-known architectural firms SANNA. The construction was recently completed.  It is located in the wooded country side after a scattering of large, expensive houses gradually disappears.  The building follows the terrain of the gentle hills accommodating a restaurant, library, gymnasium and auditorium under a sinuous roof shaped like  a stream. There are no solid walls except at the restrooms and support spaces such as machine rooms.  Their almost crazy idea of architecture in this natural setting was why they were selected as the architects.  Despite this grand gesture, the interior area is quite small. I am very curious how this unusual idea was accepted by the client.




The roof is extremely thin and the columns are extremely slim with the structure and drain system packed within the thin roof.  There is no bracing or diagonal members to work against the lateral forces and there are no roof top machines which normally take care of  the air conditioning. The building looks so simple, but in fact a huge effort was poured into it to achieve this simple impression. It is SAANA’s methodology to set a simple concept then the challenge is to solve the many technical obstacles that this creates since the typical strategies do not work; but this effort is not visible.

屋根は極限にまで薄く、柱は極限にまでに細い。構造体と雨の面倒見がこの薄い屋根の中に押し込まれてい る。雨水の面倒は全く見てないようにみえるが、ぎりぎりにまで目立たない、それでいて機能するように工夫されている。ちょっとしたアクロバットといってもいい。 機械類が屋根の上に載らないように、冷暖房は地下水と地熱が使われている。全体の印象はとてもシンプルで、一見何も特別なことはないように見えるけれど、その裏で、巨大な努力がはらわれている。大胆で単純なコンセプトを樹立して、それを実現するために問題となる技術的障害は何が何でも解決される、しかしその苦労は表には出てこない。この設計事務所の方法論が良く読み取れる。



The project was designed and built for a religions group, although everyone can come and enjoy the space. The construction was financed by donations from local people who were the founders of the church. One of the major elements that required funding was the curved glass. There are no areas of repetition which is a way you can save money, instead every part is custom made. On the contrary the finishes are not expensive high end materials. The combination of suppleness and lightness with the inexpensive finishes  reminds me of the typical house construction in Japan. The building is set within a natural environment, rain, wind, sun…and human use. How will this treatment of finishes age? Thinking about visiting here again in a few years we left this beautiful building.