Just in time for the Jewish festival of Sukkot, the finalists in an annual competition to reinterpret the Sukkah hut will go up next week at Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square.
For the fourth year now, the Kehilla Residential Programme – a non-profit housing agency – has invited architects, artists, designers and students to participate in its competition aimed at reinterpreting the Sukkah. Eight finalists from all over the world will now vie for the title of best Sukkah, when they install their temporary huts outside Toronto’s city hall for Sukkahville on October 15.
Kehilla organizes the one-day Sukkahville each year in order to raise funds for its rental assistance program. The structures, then, make a statement about every human’s need for adequate and fulfilling housing, while also emphasizing innovative design. The traditional Sukkah is a fixture of the Jewish festival of Sukkot – taking place October 8 to 15 – that recalls the 40 years Jews spent wandering in the desert. Participants were therefore asked to consider the building’s connection to nature, in an enclosed yet open space with a natural roof.
And the finalists delivered in eight distinctly unique concepts. Among them, Reflect-Reveal-Rebirth, by New Jersey’s Michael Signorile and Edward Perez, responds to the Sukkah’s transient quality with a biodegradable skin, in corn foam, attached to a modern structure of interlocking ribs. The Halo Sukkah, by Alice Vuap and Andrew Nicolas of Cyprus, focuses on the form, a simple circle repeated and twisted to create an open-roofed volume. And Cloud and Light, by Toronto’s Louise Shin, Nivin Nabeel and Daniel Bassakyros, evokes a spiritual element with a modern boxy structure clad in translucent Tyvek and illuminated by four amber light shelves.
It will be up to jurors Ken Greenberg, Shirley Blumberg, Sara Diamond, Jennifer Keesmaat and Brigitte Shim to decide the official winner. But Sukkahville participants can decide their own favourite during the all-day event on October 15.