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Sukkah City: 12 Radically Re-Imagined Traditional Jewish Shelters For Sukkot.

above: a modern sukkah, Fractured Bubble, by Henry Grosman and Babak Bryan was "Fan favorite"

Thanks to Ren and her wonderful blog, Lady of The Arts, I have learned about 'Sukkah City', an international design competition which took place last week in New York to re-imagine Sukkahs, the temporary shelters or dwellings built during the week-long traditional Jewish Festival Of Sukkot to commemorate the homelessness that occurred during their 40 years of wandering in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt.

It's not easy to describe a Sukkah, so I'll let this video by Liz Nord do it for you:

Traditional sukkahs:

624 people from 43 countries entered the competition. The 12 temporary structures that were chosen as the winning designs by a very impressive jury (listed later in this post) were constructed in Union Square Park’s South Plaza and were displayed publicly on September 19th and 20th (one of them, P.YGROS.C, collapsed immediately after construction). Here are the 12 winning concepts.

Gathering by Dale Suttle, So Sugita, Ginna Nguyen:

LOG by Kyle May and Scott Abrahams:

Blo Puff by Bittertang:

P.YGROS.C / passive hygroscopic curls by THEVERYMANY / Marc Fornes with Jared Laucks:

In Tension by SO-IL:

Sukkah of the Signs by Ronald Rael, Virginia San Fratello:

Star Cocoon by Volkan Alkanoglu:

Single Thread by Matter Practice:

Shim Sukkah by tinder, tinker:

Repetition meets Difference | Stability meets Volatileness by Matthias Karc:

Time/Timeless by Peter Sagar:

Fractured Bubble by Henry Grosman and Babak Bryan:

See all of the impressive entrants from 43 countries here.

Reality Disappoints?
While the concept of Sukkah City is fresh and exciting, some of the more common criticisms of the event were that the discrepancy between the impressive renderings and actual built structures were fairly great-- the completed buildings were disappointing when compared with the imagined concepts.

The Gathering Sukkah as imagined and as realized:

"Log" was one of the few designs that remained faithful to the original rendering:

The blog Human's Scribbles has great good side-by-side comparisons of the renderings with the completed structures.

The two day display culminated with Mayor Bloomberg announcing “Fractured Bubble,” a design created by Henry Grosman and Babak Bryan of Long Island City, Queens, as the “People’s Choice” winner:

The following photos from the event are courtesy of Benjamin Norman for the New York Times, who published this article on the event:

above: a panoramic view of the event

above: peeking inside the Shim Sukkah

above: the Blo Puff sukkah, a far cry from the original rendering

The process and results of the competition, along with construction documentation and critical essays, will be published in the forthcoming book "Sukkah City: Radically Temporary Architecture for the Next Three Thousand Years."

The jury consisted of these impressive designers, illustrators, architects and writers:
* Michael Arad
* Ron Arad
* Rick Bell
* Allan Chochinov
* Matias Corea
* Paul Goldberger
* Steven Heller
* Natalie Jeremijenko
* Maira Kalman
* Geoff Manaugh
* Thom Mayne
* Thomas de Monchaux
* Ada Tolla
* Adam Yarinsky

Next year, Sukkah City will expand from New York City to cities all around the world. If your community would like to be part of Sukkah City 2011, please contact them at

To learn who was behind this, the sponsors and more, visit Sukkah City.

Please donate

C'mon people, it's only a dollar.