Harvard GSD Sukkah Design Build Competition Winner

© Ren Tian

Architects: Ren Tian, Gu Lik Hang, Patchara Wongboonsin
Location: Cambridge, MA, USA
Project Area: 144 sqf
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Ren Tian, Patchara Wongboonsin

© Patchara Wongboonsin

The design build competition, organized by Harvard GSD in conjunction with the Jewish Club with sponsorship provided by , recently announced the winning design by Tian Ren, Nick Gu and Patchara Wongboosin.

© Patchara Wongboonsin

Conceived as an emulation of the 40 year journey of the ancient Israelites through the desert, the narrow entry of the Sukkah compresses the individual before opening up to the main gathering space. The patterning of the wooden screen is achieved via standard wooden profiles bolted together with threaded rods. The façade functions as both a screen that allows for variation of visual connection with the exterior and structural support. A construction technique was employed that specifically avoids the use of longitudinal members in order to maintain a fluid language of layering that plays with the visual transparency of the space within, depending on viewing angle.

The design team utilized parametric software to hone the design. This process allowed for efficient studying of the various aspects of the design ranging from density of members, cross section profiles and the final output custom individual components. The Sukkah was built with the help of several student volunteers in addition to structural consultation from Switzerland based engineer Jurg Conzett, who is guest lecturing at the GSD. Currently, the Sukkah is being enjoyed by the local student population and the sponsors for various activities.

© Ren Tian

Be sure to check out the 2010 Sukkah City competition in NYC here.

Cite: Winstanley, Tim. "Harvard GSD Sukkah Design Build Competition Winner" 29 Nov 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=186356>
  • Patrick

    anything special? didn’t see it.

  • sascha

    Hello? Anybody home?…

  • Monique

    Is that what you get from paying those massive fees to study at GSD?

  • Tram Nguyen

    that’s a good web!

  • Juri

    I don’t think i’m getting it?
    Please elaborate if you can?

  • bapha

    I’d like to commend anyone at the GSD for actually BUILDING something – not a small feat in a culture focused on academic one-up-manship and impress-the-critic/prof BS.

    Innovation at the GSD is sometimes lurking in amazing models and drawings, but there isn’t any real motivation within the culture to push the limits of actual design as it relates to something tangible – LIKE MAKING F-ING BUILDINGS!!!

    Less ass-kissing, more BUILDING (and more beer & dogs while you’re at it).

    This isn’t a great project – honestly kind of embarrassing relative to other design/build exercises carried out in other programs – but it is a start. Harvard ropes in (arguably) the best talent, then proceeds to blow all that potential on irrelevant fools errands that drive the profession further down the rabbit hole of irrelevance.

    Time to wake up, GSD.

  • Rataxes

    That’s all well and good, but building a Sukkah is first and foremost about adhering to a very strict set of rules and finding opportunities within them. The project description ought to be explicit as to how those challenges were addressed, otherwise it is difficult to evaluate it as anything but a folly. Was parametric modeling really responsible for determining the density of members or was it based on the entirely analagous module of the material thickness within the span of the maximum allowable gap?

    I just wish you’d be more forthcoming about the process. We are all colleagues here, not clients.

    Congrats, though. It looks awesome.

    PS, not Jewish.

  • james

    this surely is one for the ages

  • John

    Hard to criticize as this was extracurricular. The photos are beautiful.

    Design I give a C+ as I had the mispleasure of walking around and through the sukkah. It was anti-human: too small, narrow, hard to walk on the floor, and it moved a lot. Also it highlighted the crapiness of dimensional lumber instead of transforming it into something beautiful (without the aid of trick photography).