Reporting by Leah
Mayor Michael Bloomberg revealed the “People’s Choice” winner of the “Sukkah City 2010” competition, selected by online and in-person voters, during a special closing ceremony on Monday, September 20, 2010, in Union Square Park, located at 14th Street and Broadway in New York City.
If you wanted to get into the Sukkot holiday mode, this closing ceremony was the way to go. The entertaining presentations and innovative displays of sukkahs took place at 5:30pm in the south end of Union Square Park. Sukkah City co-founders Roger Bennett and Joshua Foer, cultural organization Reboot, who organized the “Sukkah City” competition with partners Jennifer Falk, Executive Director of the Union Square Partnership, in collaboration with the American Institute of Architects, Architizer, Dwell, and the City’s Department of Parks & Recreation, made the event a huge success. And Wichcraft (www.wichcraftnyc.com) provided the box lunches to the volunteers.
“Fractured Bubble,” a sukkah created by Henry Grosman and Babak Bryan of Long Island City Queens, was the “People’s Choice” winner of “Sukkah City 2010,” a global architectural contest that engaged the most creative minds in the design, creative and architectural worlds to radically reinvent the humble structure. The public voted in person and online at www.nymag.com for their favorite design.
“The sukkah is a bubble: ephemeral and transient,” said architects Grosman and Bryan. “It is an opportunity to dwell on–and dwell in–impermanence. Fractured Bubble is made of simple materials: plywood; marsh grass; and twine. Its form is a sphere fractured into three sections. The schach, or roof material, is composed of phragmites, an invasive species of marsh grass harvested from Corona Park, Queens.
More than 600 entrants had to wrap their minds around the rules of Halakah, Jewish Law, which allows a sukkah to be built in a tree, on a wagon, or out of a living elephant. Entries came from 43 countries, including China, India, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Seven of the winning entries came from New York City, four from Brooklyn, while others came from designers based in California, Idaho, Germany and the United Kingdom. All of the sukkahs on display were great.
A panel of esteemed judges, including Pritzker prize-winning architect Thom Mayne, The New Yorker’s architecture critic, Paul Goldberger, NYU Environmental Health Clinic Director Natalie Jeremijenko, and designer Ron Arad selected the winning entries during a recent session at the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The winners were selected in a blind review, and included the Brooklyn-based firms Matter Architecture Practice; Bittertang, winners of the 2010 Architectural League Prize; and Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu, winner of the 2010 MoMA/P.S.1 Young Architects Program.
Twelve bold and innovative interpretations of the ancient sukkah–winners of “Sukkah City.” a global architectural contect, went on display at sunrise on September 19 in Union Square Park. Each of the sukkahs will be auctioned off online atwww.housingworks.org to benefit the non-profit organization Housing Works. Selected entries are currently on display in an exhibit at the Center for Architecture in New York City.
The beautiful and joyous Jewish holiday of Sukkot begins sundown on Wednesday, September 22. For more information on Sukkot and sukkah locations please visit www.chabad.org.