Sukkah City — an open design competition that asked participants to radically reinvent the ancient sukkah — has announced its 12 winning designs for “temporary buildings.” As New York Magazine explains, the “bulbous and bristling huts…built out of rattan, grass, wire, cardboard, hemp, and wooden slats” will be erected in New York City’s Union Square over the weekend, and will be on display through October 2. Six hundred entrees from 43 countries followed a detailed set of rules, including “at night, one must be able to see the stars from within the sukkah,” and, “the roof must be made from something that once grew in the ground, and is no longer attached to the earth.” Click through to view the winners.
Fractured Bubble by Henry Grosman and Babak Bryan.
This sukkah is made of plywood, marsh grass and twine. The sukkah “separates inside from outside with a thin, permeable membrane,” write the designers. “Outside is the world of everyday life. Inside one gathers with loved ones. Together you look out to the world to find it fresh again, transformed.”
Gathering byDale Suttle, So Sugita, Ginna Nguyen
Suttle, Sugita, and Nguyen designed Gathering to be “calculated yet unpredictable.” They were also cognizant of the goal of the sukkah to provide both shade and openness: “The angle and flow of the sticks shades the reflecting soul during the day and at night guides the dweller’s eyes up to the stars.”
Brooklyn-based design team Bittertang attempted to create an acoustic and visual refuge from the bustling city with Blo Puff. Upon entering, the Spanish moss “is pushed aside and one ducks to enter the sukkah physically marking the threshold and transporting the entrant to another world far separate from Union Square,” in which one can gaze up to the sky from the pillow-covered floor.
Time/Timeless by Peter Sagar
In Time/Timeless Sagar attempts to “achieve an awareness of time” with his design. The walls block out just enough so those living inside are aware of the time of day, but little else. A fabric called Hessian hangs from the roof, “engulfing the occupant” and making “the structure appear to float, further developing the light, temporary fragmented nature of the assembly.”
Repetition meets Difference | Stability meets Volatileness by Matthias Karch
Karch says his sukkah draws influence from the KNOTS-studies of Konrad Wachsmann, a German, Jewish architect and engineer. Wachsmann and Walter Gropius developed the Packaged House System, a design for a house that could be constructed by five workers in nine hours.
Star Cocoon by Volkan Alkanoglu
The goal of Star Cocoon, as Alkanoglu explains, is to encourage communication within a community. Constructed of bamboo and rattan materials, the cocoon attempts to “generate transparent, monolithic and ephemeral qualities.”
Shim Sukkah uses the shim, a wedge usually used to fill an unplanned gap, as its building block. Thus, as the designers put it, “The floor, walls, and roof all become the space between.” Quite the philosophical conundrum to put forth in a design, and rather fitting for a temporary edifice.
As the name implies, Single Thread will be constructed by looping a continuous wire around a bamboo scaffold, which will eventually be removed. “As the scaffold is removed pole-by-pole the thick ‘cloth’ of wire will settle into a taut self-determined structure,” explains Matter Practice, an architecture firm based in Brooklyn. “Its loose fabric allows for a field of fresh flowers to be hung and dried above the table.”
Sukkah of the Signs by Ronald Rael, Virginia San Fratello
In keeping with the roots of the sukkah as homelessness, Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello will construct their sukkah out of signs they’ve purchased from the homeless. The duo also sees their concept as humanitarian: “By purchasing homeless signs from the individuals who made them, we are also contributing to a meal for someone who might not otherwise be able to eat today in honor of the primary and traditional role of sukkah, which is a feast of bounty, of hospitality, and of welcoming strangers.” They’ve also promised that, if built, they’ll auction their construction and give the fund to a homeless shelter in New York City.
LOG by Kyle May and Scott Abrahams
LOG is simply glass walls supporting a log. However, as the designers conceive it, it’s much more than that. The log will be cedar, which is mentioned 76 times in the Bible. But more important to May and Abrahams is the idea of the foundation being closer to heaven. “In a place of religious reflection, a foundation from above has a special meaning,” they write. Inside the glass structure is a table and a candle, which both hang from the log.
This sukkah is built using the principles of “tensegrity,” the idea that integrity can be provided by the balance of tension and compression. In Tension is also extremely lightweight, like a tent, so it can be transported by one person. The top of the tent in concave, allowing it to catch leaves and branches that provide shade during the day.
Fornes and Laucks use 3-D lattice structures wrapped in to the shape of pipes to create this lightweight sukkah. To see the stars, one gets to “insert his/her head within one of the lower polyps / trumpet aperture.” The thin strips of timber also absorb humidity, which will curl and uncurl the tips of the structure depending on the weather.
The Sukkah City competition hopes to expand to other cities besides New York in 2011. If you’d like your community to be considered, you can email them.