Sukkah City STL Competition
Invitied, commission exhibition
Washington University, St. Louis
Carol Ross Barney
The Gleaned Sukkah is a temporal assembly that is constructed for use during a week-long festival of Sukkot. The tectonic, material and assembly are developed through understanding the context of this cultural ritual. The Gleaned Sukkah synthesizes cultural rituals with natural cycles. The tectonic negotiates two distinct material systems, one which loosely controls the other. A tenuous composite of precisely fabricated, lacy frame delicately pinches the tufts of long, native prairie grasses to form a reciprocal structural system.
The frame is created by 3 horizontal U shaped loops held in place by a series of 24 vertical struts. 2 of the loops form a spiraling, ruled surface providing both structure and spatial effects. The spiraling loops delineate an attenuated threshold that reorients the space of the sukkah from the entry through the interior to the sky. This twisting transition at the top of the structure provides a spatial focus and braces the upper part of the structure. In stark contrast to the synthetic frame of the pavilion its skin is formed from clumps of locally collected native prairie grasses.
Slid manually into calibrated, barrette-like clips in the struts, the grass tufts provide lateral strength and most of the mass/surface of the construct. The pattern of clips on the struts stretches with the topology of the surface changing the pattern and porosity of the skin.