Grace Farms is Community Center designed by the award-winning Japanese architecture firm SANAA. The main building on the 80 acre property is called The River and it looks like a metallic snake making it’s way down a hill. In the various pavilions (all interconnected by curving covered walkways) you’ll find learning spaces, permanent and temporary art installations, a library, a cafe, a sunken basketball court (!), a tea house, and an amphitheater. Walking trails meander through the property and a sound installation adds another dimension to the whole experience. I fell in love with the space so much that I drove back the next day for a longer visit.
A few weeks later, I bumped into SANAA again — this time in Basel on a tour of the new Novartis Campus with the American Swiss Young Leaders Conference. Our guide underscored the importance of chance encounter in innovation, and the way in which architecture, works of art, and landscape design can support creativity and breakthroughs. While the campus is not open to the public, you can take a virtual tour here.
My last run in of 2016 with the work of this genius architectural duo was in Lausanne at the Rolex Learning Center (on the campus of École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne). If you go, be sure to walk through EPFL’s new ArtLab to get a sense of all of the possibilities visualizing big data using virtual reality. Oh, and *definitely* grab a burger and fries at the Montreux Jazz Cafe, smack in the middle of campus.