ccbb, Ann Arbor, MI

Artist Statement

El Capote is a sukkah designed through the use of multifaceted brise-soleil walls that provide an interplay of light and shadow complimented by natural ventilation and a rain cape. Conceptually, the design is comprised of a wood grid system that is threefold; structural, functional, and aesthetic. It is a screen wall that folds to become a porous roof which pierces through two other screens acting as columns. Inspired by the capote—a traditional Mexican rain cape garment made from dried grassy plants and used by farmers to keep cool and stay dry—hay bundles will form this structure’s roof surface. The roof turns the vertical brise-soleil system on its side, serving as a network of standard grid units to be infilled by the s’chach. Hay is comprised of grassy plants and can be used as construction material due to properties such as its low-cost, thermal efficiency, water resistance and structural capacity. Slight variations in the orientation of the brise-soleil and the sizing of the grid allow the framing of different views through the screens. The simplicity of the brise-soleil compiled with its light filtration creates a complex interplay which both renders solid colors as if they were gradients and allows for an ambiguous read between porous and solid. The structure stages a three-dimensional painting composed of color, light, and shadow contrasted by planes of solid color laid into the grid. These panels play against the porosity of the walls and serve to add shear rigidity while tripling as backrests in seating areas.