Since biblical times, the sukkah—a temporary structure giving thanks for the fall harvest and commemorating the exodus from Egypt—has served as the centerpiece of the eight-day Jewish holiday of Sukkot. As part of 2019’s Detroit Month of Design, Detroit’s held the largest international design competition in recent history (78 applications from 14 countries), were displayed in Detroit’s historic Capitol Park, accompanied by complementary programs and events.
Seven Days. The structure will stand for seven days during which it will evolve and change at the hands of the community. Historically, families have bonded over constructing and designing their Sukkah’s. For Seven Days Sukkah, we invite the community to participate in the design and transformation of the structure, providing a tactile, meaningful, and educational experience to all involved. Suspended from the wooden roof structure are hundreds of removable wooden dowels, hanging by loosely knotted hemp cord. Over the course of the seven days, the community is encouraged to remove one dowel from it’s hanging position and inscribe on it their name, words, memories or traditions that are meaningful to the participant. The dowel is then inserted into layers of perforated acrylic which forms two outer walls. With each removed and inserted dowel, the appearance and experience of the Sukkah will transform and evolve – allowing for the unification of the participant, the structure and the traditions of Sukkot.
Harvest. The structure will feed the community. The structure’s front facade forms a vertical garden which is staggered between a wooden slat framed structure that integrates layers of stacked acrylic. The garden greets visitors upon entry and pays homage to the ritual celebration of the harvest. The roof of the structure is made of the earth and provides permeability to see the sun and the stars.
Community. Seven Days Sukkah is an opportunity to engage – to bring together visitors by way of interaction and discovery; Discovery of tradition, of light, of earth, of family and of community.