Sukkah 2001 / 5761
Sukkah designs by prominent architects


[sukkah]



PLEASE NOTE THAT NOT ALL SUKKAH DESIGNS ARE DEEMED KOSHER, OR ARE THE THOUGHTS OF THE DESIGNERS NECESSARILY "JEWISH" IDEAS OF GOD AND JUDAISM




Jassen S. Callender and Charlotte Freidel

BIOGRAPHY: Callender: MA (Minnesota), BA (Mississippi State Univ); Freidel: BA (Minnesota)
LOCATION: Minneapolis

DESIGN:

[callender]
STATEMENT: From their exhibit at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Materials of Wood frame, flax, animal hair, nylon, stone, clay and copper. The sukkah is a remembrance and a celebration. Our sukkah expresses hope and comfort combined with ritual and emotion. The structure of the sukkah resembles an umbrella with its portability and ease to assemble for protection. The entrance to the sukkah is low so people will have to lower their heads or upper torsos to enter. This represents a humility before God and in themselves. Yet, as individuals continue to enter the sukkah, their attention will be drawn upwards by the back wall, which ascends to a higher level that the entrance. To make the transition from exterior to interior, the inside walls consist of large woven textiles, which hang closely to the exterior nylon covering. These weavings represent warmth and comfort to the inhabitant. Light penetrates through openings and spaces integral to the fabrics. A ritualistic task evolves from setting stones on the ground to create the floor. Various pots facilitate the transport of the stones from site to site. After the sukkah is raised, the pots serve a secondary function to collect water for drinking and washing. A weathervane sits on top of the sukkah to remind us the omnipresence of nature and our susceptibility to it.

Lucianne Hudak

BIOGRAPHY: BA (Minnesota), AA (Wentworth)
LOCATION: KKE Architects, Minneapolis
DESIGN:

[hudak]
STATEMENT: From exhibit at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Materials of cedar boards, plywood on wood frame, wooden dowels, wooden pegs, branches, and straw mats. I began designing this sukkah with the concept to experience the structure, the place, the celebration of Sukkot - a time of thanksgiving, sharing, remembering. I did not want to just provide shelter, but to make people aware of their surroundings and to experience the architecture as a celebration of thankfulness and blessing for what has been provided.
When entered, the sukkah should make someone experience vulnerability and at the same time feel protected, to be reminded of God's care and provisions. I want them to think beyond walls providing protection and to contemplate the experience of sleeping on the ground and being raised up off the ground to another level. Even to go beyond the experience of a place of one's own and to offer shelter and comfort to a guest by givinig up your bed, while you sleep on the ground. The act of honoring a guest, richer or poorer. The act of sharing with others who may be less fortunate - Tzedakah.
The solid wall in the back reflects the past beyond the wall and serves as a reminder that one should not dwell on the past but be thankful for the present. The openings are small enough to glimpse what has been left behind, but not large enough to ponder what has been left in the past. The openings are a little above eye level. The wall will then be filled in with straw mats tied to horizontal dowels. The straw mats do not allow visibility, but protection and warmth. The bed is tucked into this solid wall to symbolize roots and heritage, but then extends beyond the boundaries to symbolize the future and what is to come.
The entry wall is low and solid, it serves as a reminder of the present - to be thankful for the present, to be aware of our surroundings, to be content with what has been given by God.
The left wall is open to reflect the vulnerability of life, while the wall to the right (closest to the bed) protects and comforts.
The support of the structure is vertical, focusing one's eye and mind on God. Reminding one of God's care and presence. The members are directional, projecting forward, towards the future. The openings are at various levels and give hope for the future, while straw mats brings protection and warmth. The structure is fragile enough to remind us that nothing is permanent. The creator will take care of us. While it is also solid enough to reflect comfort, peace, and rest.

Vesa Loikas

BIOGRAPHY: BA (Southwest Louisiana, 1995)
LOCATION: Bentz/Thompson/Rietow, Minneapolis
DESIGN:

[loikas]
STATEMENT: From the exhibit at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Materials of sealed birch plywood, cedar boards, bamboo, dacron, wooden dowels and aluminum bolts.
Vene (Finnish for boat) - Sukkah
Curved forms mediate between earth and sky. The roof filters light and rain into the interior, where wood surfaces and curved translucent fabric receive them. The gaps, openings, and different materials create apertures with a variety of shapes and transparency through which the world is observed. The architectural play between solid, void, transparent, and translucent provides different perspectives for us to perceive the world around us. VENE is a fragile vessel floating in the sea. Its direction depends on the winds of the sky and the currents of the ocean.

Eirik Magnuson

BIOGRAPHY: BA (Minnesota)
LOCATION: Minneapolis
DESIGN:

[magnuson]
STATEMENT: From the exhibit at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Materials of yellow canvas, ash, white pine, and tree branches.
In researching the Sukkot, I discovered that the main focus of the festival is to celebrate the harvest, share a meal, and give thanks to God. I decided to design my sukkah from these basic ideas. I searched for images of the harvest and found paintings by Monet of wheat piled up high in the fields. The seemed to be the perfect representation of the harvest, and I saw the pointed tops of the piles as paying homage to God. So in my design, I made a structure that points to the sky and has walls with repeating vertical elements that refer to crops. The entrance to the sukkah is only five feet high, so most people will have to duck down to enter. I did this so that they will have to bow as a sign of respect for God and the harvest. The side opposite the entrance has no roof covering. When people share a meal, Gods presence is represented as coming down from the sky and being seated at the head of the table. When the structure is not erected, it can be disassembled, rolled into a bundle, and easily transported. It will look similar to a bundle of wheat rolled up and tied together ad will suggest the end of the harvest and the celebration

Gwendolyn Kane

BIOGRAPHY: BA (Minnesota)
LOCATION: Minneapolis
DESIGN:

[kane]
STATEMENT: From their exhibit at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Materials of plywood, wooden dowels, silk screened nylon fabric, eye screws and grapevines. The base of the sukkah consists of a deck formation ie, 2 by 4s placed ina 6 by 6 inch sqaure, with joists supporting the plywood top. The base will be constructed and cut into three sections for portability. Four 5 inch dowel rods will be screwed to the corners of the base, and four 3 inch dowel rods will be attached horizontally to the 5 inch rods to form the outer structure. They will fit into 3 inch holes drilled into the vertical posts............The panel designs consist of my computer art. The patterns involve animal themes, representative of symbiotic relationships in the wild, and will be transferred to the fabric by silkscreening. Any combination of the four can be used for the balls. The roof consists of grapevines layered in a dream catcher pattern. After being secured to the dowels, the vines will be woven and layered inward, forming a circle. The structure can be easily be disassembled and stored in a small space, as the panels can remain attached to the top dowels and subsequently rolled up.

Kent Simon

BIOGRAPHY: BA (Illinois, 1977)
LOCATION: MHWB Architects and Planners, Minneapolis MN
DESIGN:

[kentsimon]
STATEMENT: From the exhibit at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Materials of opaque stained plywood and organic material.
The harvest festival of Sukkot was once so important that it was known simply as HeHag, "the festival." The Israelites were commanded to leave the comfort of their homes and travel to Jerusalem to eat and dwell for seven days in fragile booths as a reminder of the tenuous nature of their own existence. They were not to forget that the harvest abundance they enjoyed was God's work and that their lives were never more than fragile.
Laws describing the construction of the sukkah, or booth, were developed in an effort to make the form of the sukkah to reflect its humbling function...... the inspiration for this sukkah is in seeking a balance between enclosure and exposure, between walls and roof, between the world we have so carefully constructed for ourselves and the vicissitudes of life. In a lesser sense it is to distinguish the form of the sukkah from that of other small landscape structures. To the uninitiated viewer the sukkah's function many well be a mystery, but seeing it should inspire curiosity as to its function. Finally it is to create a practical system of building components that can easily be built, assembled, disassembled, and stored.
The walls are constructed from 1/2 inch wood boards of varying widths, sanded smooth, stained, and fitted together to one another to create a sense of restrained richness and modest comfort. Each of the nine wall panels has a pair of 2 by 4 vertical supports that slot into the platform base. The temporary character of the walls is emphasized by their free edges, which do not touch each other. Light and air freely passes between them. These edges widen into windowlike openings that visually connect the sukkah to its surroundings. A friezelike shelf for the display of fruits and vegetables wraps around the top of the walls. From out of this wood box rises the sekhakh, light and fragile in contrast to the walls. Constructed from a grid of 2x2 inch wood slats covered with corn stalks or pine boughs, the sekhakh is a symbolic cloud, offering protection from the sun but not the rain.

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