The Blanket of Sukkot: A Portable and Permeable Ceremonial Fabric
Tim Frank
The Blanket of Sukkot: A Portable and Permeable Ceremonial Fabric
This project explores the intersection of transitory assemblies and emerging material systems as a new means of defining a ceremonial space. A lightweight recycled polyester mesh will be used in tandem with wood branches to create a permeable membrane that is interchangeably transparent or solid, depending on one’s position to the shelter or the degree of light as it plays against the surface. This composite skin system uses the two materials in a complementary fashion; the mesh serves to locally position the wood whereas the wood serves to stabilize the mesh. The orientation of the wood gives the skin rigidity in one direction while allowing it to flex in the other, enabling the membrane to be rolled up for transportation.

In the spirit of the ancient Israelites, the blanket consists of exactly 40 panels, each 4 handbreadths in width. This fragmentation of the continuous skin into segments honors the traditional design parameters being that the membrane escapes classification as definitively wall or roof. When in position, the enclosure leans inward to self-stabilize and to create a central inwardly focused space for those engaging in ceremonial congregation. The wide base narrows at the top of the enclosure, drawing the eye and the mind toward the sky. The narrow overhead sections create an aspect ratio that shade the lower habitable areas of the shelter while allowing light to dance around above. A transformative turn upon entry initiates the softening of harsh surroundings and establishes the filtered intimacy of celebration.

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