Monday, May 10, 2010

Sukkah City

An interesting competition and potential for installation is Sukkah City. A recent email from one of the co-organizers Joshua Foer explains the concept: " aims to radically reinvent the original green building: the sukkah. The sukkah is an ephemeral, elemental structure traditionally erected by Jews for one week each fall. Its ancient design constraints require that it have a roof made of shade-providing plants or trees, through which one can see the stars. Sukkah City will be a visionary village of 12 radically experimental sukkahs put up for three days this fall in Union Square Park, NYC."

:: A typical modern Sukkah - image via Beliefnet

Adding to the complexity of these interventions are a series of 'rules' that guide development, based on what amounts of ancient building codes such as "A sukkah may be built on top of a camel." or the more distinct: "A whale may be used to make a sukkah's walls. Also a living elephant." More pragmatics revolve around structural components like: "The sukkah must have at least 3 walls, but the third doesn't need to be complete. The walls must remain unshaken by a steady wind."

:: image via Sukkah City

The most intriguing element with the blending of architecture and landscape is the idea of the vegitectural roof made "...shade-providing plants or trees, through which one can see the stars." This can be interpreted in simple ways, with a covering of materials called s'chach using woven bamboo or palm leaves - keeping remaining openings for starlight viewing.

:: image via Wikipedia

The variations of course encompass the fully vegetated, such as these partially and fully vegetated varieties.

:: image via Israeli Museum Jerusalem

:: image via St. Marks Oakland

With a broadly interpreted rulebook and innate program of ephemerality, the entries should be an interesting mix - all juried by a pretty esteemed cast for determining winners. Entries are due on August 1, with installation of a dozen winning entries in in Union Square Park on September 19-21.

1 comment:

  1. This is an exciting contest. The project is a great scale in terms of construction with space for reflection and metaphor. My only point of disappointment with Sukkah City is the extreme lack of gender equality. For an international competition that is focused in NYC it is jarring to see that out of a "pretty esteemed cast" consisting of 14 judges only 3 are female. Where are the women? I would hope for 50%, but expect at least 30% to be female jury members. Hopefully next year this competition will deal with a contemporary setting not only in its architectural context, but social and political as well.


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