Design Competition: Call for Entries

Presented by the Jewish Federation of Greater Austin, the Sukkah City Austin Design Competition is open to students, professional artists, architects and designers of all faiths and backgrounds in the State of Texas and Israel, working in teams or as individuals. Registration opens July 9 and submissions are due August 8.

Sukkah City NYC: courtesy of Sukkah City
On September 19, 2010, the finalists of the Sukkah City New York design competition unveiled their re-imagined sukkahs in New York's Union Square. Locals and tourists alike rubbed shoulders to get a closer look at the ritual huts, which transformed the downtown park into an architectural showcase.
Sukkah City NYC 2010 Winner: Shim Sukkah
 (tinder, tinker, Sagle, Idaho) --

On a contemporary job site, there is no more humble material than the wooden shim, used to fill gaps and level uneven surfaces. In this sukkah, the unassuming object becomes an essential building block, creating a unique atmospheric effect.
Sukkah City NYC 2010 Winner: Repetition Meets Difference (
Matthias Karch, Berlin, Germany) -- 
This sukkah is built out of three wooden modules based on the “universal knot” invented by the German-Jewish engineer Konrad Wachsmann. The Wachsman Knot units are constructed out of a tangle of wood from Israeli olive trees and American walnut and maple.
Sukkah City NYC 2010 Winner: Blo Puff (
Bittertang, Brooklyn
) -- Blo Puff’s bloated body and furry innards acoustically, visually, and olfactorily separate the sukkah interior from the surrounding city. At night the sukkah’s glowing flesh alludes to the activities held within. Its crown, a ring of bamboo stakes held in place by inflated vinyl walls, holds a thick cylindrical mat of draped eucalyptus leaves that shade and perfume the interior. The sukkah is entered through a low opening on one side, which is obscured by a loosely draped interior lining of Spanish moss.
Sukkah City NYC 2010 Winner: Fractured Bubble
 (Henry Grosman and Babak Bryan, Long Island City) -- 
“The sukkah is a bubble: ephemeral and transient,” say Bryan and Grosman. Emphasizing its impermanence, Fractured Bubble is made of simple materials: plywood, marsh grass, and twine. Its form is a sphere fractured into three sections. The schach is composed of phragmites, an invasive species of marsh grass harvested from Corona Park, Queens.
Sukkah City NYC 2010 Winner: Gathering (
Dale Suttle, So Sugita, and Ginna Nguyen, New York
) -- This “calculated yet unpredictable structure,” in the words of its designers, is constructed from a nonlinear assemblage of wooden sticks that guide the eye toward the sky. “Whether wandering through the desert for 40 years or through the city for a day, all people desire respite. The sukkah is an icon for this relief from transience.”

Re-imagining the ancient structure through a contemporary lens is the assignment for entries into the Sukkay City Austin Design Competition.

A Sukkah is an ancient temporary structure, biblical in origin, that is traditionally erected for one week to commemorate the holiday of Sukkot, celebrating the autumnal harvest and remembering the dwellings of the Israelites during their exodus from Egypt. It is customary within the impermanent Sukkah walls, to share meals, entertain, sleep and rejoice.

Participants are invited to submit contemporary shelter designs, following the Sukkah specifications as defined by ancient Talmudic law and obeying existing laws of physics. Entries must include written description of concept, architectural renderings of structure, and ultimately must be constructible. The finalists will be selected by a Jury of celebrated architects, designers and critics, chaired by Kevin Alter, Associate Dean, The Sid W. Richardson Centennial Professor in Architecture at the University of Texas and Principal of alterstudio architects, llp.

Finalists will be awarded a $750 grant to be used in the development and implementation of their Sukkah structures, to be built in a visionary village on the Dell Jewish Community Campus in Northwest Austin and on the rooftop at the Whole Foods Market flagship store in Downtown Austin, publicly displayed from September 30 - October 10, 2012.

SukkahCity Austin 2012, a program of the Jewish Community Center of Austin, is inspired by Reboot’s SukkahCity New York, launched in 2010, and the 2011 SukkahCity STL.

For more information, contact Aliza Orent at (512)735-8030 or

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