Ten cutting-edge Sukkahs by architects and designers from around the nation will be on display Oct. 18-22 on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis.
The projects are winners of Sukkah City STL, an ambitious contemporary design competition that challenged participants to reimagine the traditional Jewish Sukkah — a small, temporary structure erected each fall during the weeklong festival of Sukkot — through the lens of contemporary art and architecture.
“The holiday of Sukkot in Jewish tradition is a way of ceremonially dwelling on, and dwelling in, impermanence,” says Rabbi Andrew Kastner of St. Louis Hillel, which co-sponsored Sukkah City STL with the university’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and The Museum of ImaJewnation.
“Each of the proposals, in their own way have reimagined the ancient Sukkah, using it as a canvas to explore the role boundaries play in defining what it means to be human,” continues Kastner, who organized the competition with Brian Newman, adjunct lecturer of architecture in the Sam Fox School.
“The finalists have addressed this creative challenge through expressions of both the particular and the universal,” Kastner says. “We are certain that the installation will provoke deep and meaningful conversation.”
The 10 winning projects, by both individuals and teams of architects and designers, were selected from a field of more than 40 entries.
Bruce Lindsey, dean of architecture in the Sam Fox School as well as the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Community Collaboration, chaired the competition jury. Other jurors included environmental designer Mitchell Joachim; Chicago architect Carol Ross Barney; and Christopher Hawthorne, architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times.
Rounding out the jury were Hyim Shafner, rabbi at St. Louis’ Bais Abraham Congregation and former chief rabbi of India; and Nancy Berg, PhD, professor of modern Hebrew language and literature in Arts & Sciences at Washington University.
Projects will be installed outdoors on the university’s Danforth Campus, near the Ann W. Olin Women’s Building.
“We didn’t quite know what to expect when we sent this project out into the world, but the response has been amazing,” Newman says. “The work, as a whole, is so thoughtful, so architecturally exciting, and the participants have all proved to be endlessly enthusiastic.
“We really can’t wait to see how these incredible conceptual structures come to life as built work.”
Additional support for Sukkah City STL was provided by the St. Louis Jewish Community Center and by the Sam Fox School’s Charles and Bunny Burson Art Fund.
The Sukkah City STL winners are listed below. For detailed descriptions of their designs, view our slideshow.
Emery McClure Architecture
Act3 (Ben Kaplan), Trivers Architecture and STL Beacon
Brooklyn, NY, and Cambridge, MA
60 degree Sukkah
Lea Oxenhandler and Evan Maxwell Litvin
Alexander Morley and Jennifer Wong
Casey Hughes Architects
Christine Yogiaman, Forrest Fulton and Ken Tracy
John Kleinschmidt and Andy Sternad
Bronwyn Charlton and Linda Levin
WHO: St. Louis Hillel at Washington University, the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and The Museum of ImaJewnation
WHAT: Sukkah City STL: Defining & Defying Boundaries
WHEN: Oct. 18-22
WHERE: Danforth Campus of Washington University in St. Louis, near the Ann W. Olin Women’s Building
COST: Free and open to the public
Editor’s Note: A private reception for the winning teams will take place at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18, in the Ann W. Olin Women’s Building Formal Lounge. Media interested in attending should contact Liam Otten at (314) 935-8494.