12 radically temporary structures will be built in New York’s Union Square Park this September.
Biblical in origin, the sukkah is an ephemeral, elemental shelter, erected for one week each autumn, in which it is customary to share meals, entertain, sleep, and rejoice.
The sukkah’s religious function is to commemorate the temporary structures that the Israelites dwelled in during their exodus from Egypt, but it is also about universal ideas of transience and permanence as expressed in architecture. The sukkah is a means of ceremonially practicing homelessness, while at the same time remaining deeply rooted. It calls on us to acknowledge the changing of the seasons, to reconnect with an agricultural past, and to take a moment to dwell on–and dwell in–impermanence.
Sukkah City: NYC will re-imagine this ancient phenomenon, develop new methods and propose radical possibilities for traditional design constraints in a contemporary urban site. Twelve finalists will be selected by a panel of architects, designers, and critics to be constructed in Union Square Park from September 19-21, 2010.
One structure will be chosen by New Yorkers to stand and delight throughout the week-long festival of Sukkot as the Official Sukkah of New York City. The process and results of the competition, along with construction documentation and critical essays, will be published in the book “Sukkah City: Radically Temporary Architecture for the Next Three Thousand Years.”
If you plan to be in New York in September this is well worth a visit and it’s certainly something that is off the usual tourist grid!