Succa design competition – New York style

Jury chooses two designs out of over 600 entries, most of which were made by non-Jews.

Succa Contest 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Succa Contest 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced in a ceremony on Monday that “Fractured Bubble” by Henry Grosman and Babak Bryan and “Shim Sukkah” by Tinder, Tinker had won New York’s first international succa design competition, winning the People’s Choice and jury prizes, respectively.
The competition’s 13-member jury, whose ranks included architectural luminaries, artists and critics, had selected 12 finalists from over 600 entries to the competition.
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Entries were submitted from over 40 countries, including Egypt and Lebanon. Most entries were from non-Jews.
Pictures of the finalists’ submissions were voted on over the Internet for the People’s Choice award.
The 12 finalists were on display in Union Square near Greenwich Village on Sunday and Monday. “Fractured Bubble” will remain in place until October 2 in Union Square, while “Shim Sukkah” will be displayed in the AIA Center for Architecture.
All succot from the competition will be auctioned off at , with proceeds to fund local homelessness initiatives.
Entrants were required to conform to biblical restrictions on the construction of succot. Each entry was required to be temporary, have at least two-and-a-half walls, be large enough to hold a table and have a roof made of “shade-providing organic materials through which one can see the stars,” or s’chach.
The rules noted, however, that “a deep dialogue of historical texts intricately refines and interprets these constraints.”
Further rules were enumerated on the website, including prescriptions as to handbreadths and NYC construction requirements (any structure larger than 19 feet by 8 feet is deemed non-temporary under municipal ordinance).
Tinder, Tinker consists of three architects, David Getty, Matthew Jacobs and Stephanie Gunawan, all educated at the Rhode Island School of Design. Their entry, “Shim Sukkah,” used wood shims, a tool of the construction trade, as its building blocks, stacking them in vertical and horizontal formations. The booth, viewed from different angles, manages to possess a simultaneous solidity and ephemerality.
“The succa enclosure vanishes with the material characteristics to reveal the inhabitant/s inside and the environment in which the succa resides, within the park, the city, under the night sky,” the architects’ description concluded.
“Fractured Bubble,” by Grosman and Bryan, from afar looks like tumbleweed in the shape of a flame. In fact, it is composed of twine, plywood and marsh grass in the form of a sphere cleaved into three separate sections. The roundness of the inside evokes an etrog shielded in hair to protect its fragile tip.
The bubble of the inside is fractured at three places which serve as the entry points.
The s’chach of this succa is composed of phragmites, an invasive species in wetlands, which attach loosely to the succa and create a crosshatched effect, with its density calibrated so as to allow the stars at night to be visible.
“The succa is a bubble: ephemeral and transient,” the architects’ description reads. “It separates inside from outside with a thin, permeable membrane. Outside is the world of everyday life.
Inside one gathers with loved ones. Together you look out to the world to find it fresh again, transformed.”