Chag Sukkah - Sukkahville
Reimagine the vernacular sukkah using vernacular materials, hardware, and form.
A design proposal for the Jewish festival holiday of Sukkot, a seven-day festival within Israel, eight days outside of Israel. Jewish custom states that the sukkah (a fragile, walled structure to commemorate the 40 years that the Jews spent in the desert after their exodus from Egypt) must be built anew each year. The design is fundamentally guided by Halakha, or the virtuous path of living a Jewish life.
Chag Sukkah is constructed from readily available, low cost, sustainable wood latticework that is frequently used for sukkah building worldwide.
Reimagining the uses of vernacular materials and forms yielded this spectacular effect of layering and opacity. By opting for a negative space of interconnected spheres, the interior space carves out an entry to the sukkah where one can spend time in contemplation and also look out from within. Thirty-two sheets of wood lattice connected using zip ties and threaded rods and bolts create a sukkah that observes traditional Jewish laws and customs with an unmistakably modern flair.
But then what happens to the sukkah structure at the conclusion of the holiday? Many sukkahs are destroyed and then left for garbage collection. Chag Sukkah reflects the ecosystem and life cycle of materials used for its construction, since in keeping with Halakha, Chag Sukkah was built for disassembly and repurposing. Ideally, by later removing the trellis lamination, the sukkah could be reimagined and reinstalled as a community garden and pavilion.
The main objective of Halakha is to transform essential, mundane acts into spiritually significant events. Reinterpreted, Chag Sukkah seeks to inspire a relationship beyond Sukkot, the holiday. Adaptive reuse of the sukkah’s materials and unused lattice serves to create a spiritual relationship with the community and the environment while broadening the life cycle of the materials.
Mel Lastman Square, Toronto, Canada
Open International Competition, Proposed 2012