Team B Architecture & Design, Cincinati, OH
Sukkot is observed as both a festival of the harvest and a celebration of the Exodus. Over time, society has shifted from agrarian to more urban and suburban lifestyles. In lieu of fields, people now tend to have backyards, balconies, and porches which—save for the occasional pot of herbs—serve as a means of leisure and performance, not production. The suburban backyard in particular, with its freshly cut lawn and picket fence, is a staple symbol of success and comfort.
As with any backyard project, a short trip to a ‘big box’ retailer will supply all one needs to construct their very own sukkah. In this sense, the sukkah represents an amateur exercise of architecture constructed for the purpose of celebration.
Our sukkah flips this symbol of the backyard on its head. It is simple in its elements; a yard, a fence, some flowers, the sky; yet fantastical in its details. Above, the floating grass ground-plane instills an immediate sense of wonder. Below, a sky-printed picnic blanket and cloud-shaped pillows invite the user to recline and contemplate. The surrounding scalloped fence is spliced with a section of mirrored mylar providing room for reflection. One’s gaze is drawn upward through the aperture in the grass toward the sky. The earth frames the heavens, causing the inhabitants to examine their relationship to what is both physical and celestial, material and immaterial. The backyard, an archetype of the everyday, has been transformed into a magical, yet familiar, place for anyone to experience Sukkot.