Sukkah 2000 / 5760
Sukkah designs by prominent architects


Gertrude Lempp Kerbis

BIOGRAPHY: Gertrude Lempp Kerbis received a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering from the University of Wisconsin (1948), and a Master of Science in Architecture from Harvard University (1954). Since 1967, she has practiced with Lempp Kerbis Associates. She also practiced with Skidmore Owings and Merril (Chicago) for over five years. She has been on the faculty of William Rainey Harper College for over 25 years, and taught of Washington University (St Louis) in 1982-1983. Among her most well known projects are Webster Townhouses in Lincoln Park/Chicago, Mitchell Hall at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and The Seven Continenets Restaurants at O'Hare International Airport.

LOCATION: Gertrude Kerbis Associates, Chicago, Illinois

[lempp Kerbis]

STATEMENT: Materials are bamboo, fir lumber, copper nails, manila rope, and steel fasteners.
The Star of David symbol, in addition to its multi-layered interwoven meaning, became a powerful reflection of the geometry of an early age. I attempted to use this geometry to develop an architecture of space and enclosure appropriate to a sukkah.
Function: It began with the design of the basic sukkah table for six, this establishes a ten foot space between opposing walls, an enclosure of 95 square feet. (Eventually, presumed design of the sukkah table that would expand to accommodate up to fourteen people.)
Material: Using materials found in nature in the design of the sukkah, was a very appealing tactile aesthetic. The selection of light weight materials appropriate for temporary structures became a concern. Bamboo and rope were selected; sources and research on these materials followed.
Structure: Decreasing the distance between supporting elements (Span), by using tension (rope), thereby reducing the bamboo structural depth and weight, became another aspect of the investigation of temporary structure.
Wall and Ceiling: The infill, non-structural panels, were designed again using the Star of David geometry as an inspiration. A lattice work, of three layers formed with 60 degree angles, was a simple yet expressive translucent surface enclosure. The roof/ceiling opening defined by the tension rope Star of David opened the translucent enclosure to the stars.
Decoration: The celebrative aspects of the holiday were emphasized with decorative touches: the design of the flags and balls applied to the columns and beams.
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