Coolest Sukkot You've Ever Seen

sukkah citySukkot, the Jewish harvest holiday, kicked off at sundown Wednesday night. In the coming days, people around the world will be sitting down with family and friends to take their holiday meals in the homespun backyard huts that give the holiday its name (the plural for sukkah, the hut, is sukkot). It's an incredible treat to enjoy the last few days of temperate weather eating under the stars.

But the traditional sukkah, which can be made from anything, most often from wood and branches and decorated with whatever your kids feel like stringing together (looped paper, popcorn, fruit, plastic toys), is undergoing a seriously nifty design transformation. Last year, a competition called Sukkah City was held to rethink the sukkah in architecturally interesting ways. Six hundred designs were entered and the amazing finalists -- "12 radically temporary structures" -- were put on display (for two all-too-brief days only) in New York's Union Square Park. The were mind-blowingly cool!


Very much like the mod-perfect tiny environmentally-friendly houses you'd drool over in Dwell magazine, which I suppose is not so surprising, given that Dwell was one of the sponsors of the competition.

There was a sukkah made from signs made by homeless people (Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello's Sukkah of the Signs) that was later auctioned off to raise funds for a homeless shelter.

sukkah of the signs

Another was made of a single 2,000-pound spool of wire (Matter Practice's Single Thread) that seemed to have no beginning or end.

single thread

Another (Kyle May and Scott Abrahams' LOG) was just a humongous log, the trunk of a cedar tree, held up by laminated glass walls. (A sukkah has to have a roof made of a botanical material that had been on the ground.)


As temporary as these structures were meant to be, their effect, happily, turns out to have been a little more permanent: Similar competitions are being held in other cities, and this year, some of the winning designs are being constructed in other places, including Times Square.

Happy Sukkot!

Does your family build a sukkah for Sukkot? What do you make it out of, and how do you usually decorate it?


Images via Lauren Manning/Flickr (Sukkah of the Signs, Single Thread), Mat McDermott/Flickr (Fractured Bubble, LOG)

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