Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership
The annual Jewish ritual of constructing a Sukkah is an opportunity to consider the basic elements that define the space of physical dwelling : shelter, privacy, and support. This design attempts to distill those elements and explore the paradoxes of temporary, organic dwelling in existing urban environments.

Our Sukkah includes no solid walls; entering a Sukkah is an act of eschewing the privacy and isolation of typical urban dwelling. You step onto a circular wood platform which emblemizes the act of man-made construction. You are bounded on two sides by curved metal benches attached to perforated screen walls. The metal recalls the precise tactility of the materials that comprise an urban environment, while the form plays with the notion of privacy: the walls offer security while their relative transparency denies physical isolation.

By contrast, the third wall is formed as a curved lattice made from bent bamboo shoots, juxtaposed against the texture of the screen walls. This lattice curves overhead to form the framework for the roof, blurring the distinction between enclosure and shelter. The lattice is infilled with rings of palm fronds overlaid in varying densities as s'chach, recalling the lulav stalks that Jews utilize in their Sukkot holiday rituals, and reinforcing the cultural continuity that is experienced in the Sukkah.

Finally, the curved enclosure is supported by a wood structure that emerges from the floor as a square post, gradually transforming into tree branches that engage the roof lattice and encapsulate the ambiguity of natural vs. urban typology.

More Sukkahs