June 21, 2024
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NJIT Student Design Teams Win Princeton ‘Sukkah Village’ Competition

Two teams of architecture students at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) got involved in an interesting project last semester. They joined Princeton’s “Sukkah Village 2021” design competition, and both teams emerged victorious.

The contest, which began in the spring, required the students to design and construct a 10’x 10’ sukkah following the exact parameters set out by the competition organizers, which included a requirement that the sukkah be “kosher.” For these secular students, this involved working and reworking their designs to meet both religious standards and architectural specifics.

The teams came up with two very different, yet equally effective, designs. “A Windowed Sukkah,” made of plywood, resembles a small hut and its design is more traditional. “Celestial Tensility,” a contemporary design, is made with overlapping fabric walls.

To assist them in building their sukkot, the students learned woodworking skills at the MakerSpace and the woodshop at the school’s Hillier College of Architecture and Design.

The teams assembled their sukkot at the Princeton Sukkah Village, along with sukkot designed by eight local architecture and design firms. The sukkot were on display at a number of public sites around downtown Princeton, New Jersey, from just before Sukkot began through the end of the chag, after which they were taken down and auctioned off for charity via an online auction which ends on October 5. The students’ winning sukkot were displayed at The Jewish Center of Princeton.

The event was modeled after a similar event held in Manhattan in 2010 and, like the original competition, was intended to highlight pressing social issues including homelessness, food insecurity, a dearth of affordable housing and the plight of refugees. There were Zoom panel discussions held throughout Sukkot focusing on topics including food insecurity and sustainable architecture, to tie the theme to the competition.

A sukkah hop was held on Sunday, September 26, when all sukkot were viewed and the designers afforded the opportunity to discuss their designs.

By Jill Kirsch

 

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