Architours + Inspiration

SANAA Grace Farms

Architects are always learning from the built environment.  We can’t help but always notice things about buildings – the proportions of a great space, the details of a smart installation, the clever use of materials on a striking facade.  As we launch et Alia, we decided to formalize this practice into monthly field trips, allowing us to look at great buildings and places together and have a dialogue about them.

Our kickoff field trip took us to New Canaan CT to look at two glass architecture projects: Philip Johnson’s Glass House and SANAA’s Grace Farms.  It was intriguing to see two renown buildings of different time periods that both rely very heavily on glass for their architectural expression but in very different ways.  At the Philip Johnson compound, we took the Glass House + Galleries tour and gained insight into the building and its relationship to the many other buildings on the site.  At Grace Farms we wandered about freely, admiring the relationship between the incredibly transparent serpentine volume and the solid volumes it contained as well as completely geeking out on the detailing (check out the roof downspout and its receiver in the pavement below!).

The following month we headed south again, this time to Brown University and RISD. Amongst the buildings we studied were Diller Scofidio Renfro’s Granoff Center, admiring the exterior facade composition and interlocking interior spaces, and Anmahian Winton’s elegant renovation and slatted wood insertions at the Joukowsky Institute for Archeaology.  We also spotted some great art work during our tour of both campuses.  Next on the calendar is a re-exploration of Wellesley’s campus.  Also on our list are super local sites in Boston, trekking out to Western Massachusetts, and visiting new and old favorites in New York City.  We, of course, have any ongoing catalog of spots all over, with Miami slated for when we celebrate a significant et Alia anniversary!  What are some of the buildings that are on the top of your list to visit (or re-visit) in person?