Much has been made of New York’s architectural Sukkahs, unveiled in Union Square a couple of weeks ago as part of Joshua Foer’s Sukkah City competition. But LA is celebrating the Jewish harvest holiday in style as well. Earlier today the Skirball Cultural Center hosted a Sukkot Family Celebration exhibiting a structure created by Culver City-based wHY Architecture, with consulting from Skirball staff. Sukkahs, for those of you wondering, are built to celebrate the fall harvest and to recall the temporary dwellings the Israelites lived in during their Exodus in the desert. The sukkah at Skirball was conceived and finished just in time for this year’s seven-day celebration, which started on September 23 and will conclude on the 29th.
wHY first got involved with Skirball when brainstorming ideas for its entry in the Sukkah City contest (a piece called A Human Sukkah). After that, Skirball commissioned the firm to build a sukkah made of repurposed materials. Fourteen pieces of 2×4 lumber were cut into five different lengths. Strips of woven fabric from Skirball’s past exhibition street banners were wrapped around the lumber, which created an 8-f00t-tall, 10 f00t-wide wooden frame. Palm fronds act as a roof, and fescue grass function as flooring.
When asked why the firm decided to take up Skirball’s project, Thai-born architect Kulapat Yantrasast said he was interested in building a “shelter anyone can use.” The sukkah “is also about the universal ideas of transience and permanence as expressed in architecture,” he said.
In two days, wHY built a sukkah that Skirball will reuse year after year. Once the holiday is over, hinges will be placed on the structure so that it can be collapsed and stored away for next year’s festivities.