San Diego, Calif., October 22, 2014 – The votes have been tallied and Sasha and Chris Varone of the North Park community of San Diego, Calif. are the winners of the Sukkot at the Ranch Design Competition, sponsored by the Leichtag Foundation. The Sukkah was chosen by the people’s choice in online and on site voting. The design competition invited members of the community to reimagine the ancient structure known as a sukkah, which has been built during the Jewish harvest of Sukkot since biblical times.
The local husband and wife architecture team designed their modern interpretation of the sukkah using plywood. From their submission: “The seven sides of this Sukkah structure represent the seven days of the week and the seven year cycle. Once inside the Sukkah, one’s awareness of the outside world is diminished. The base of the Sukkah structure tapers inwards to harvest one’s thoughts, wishes and concerns. Conversely, the top tapers outwards to release them to the sky.”
Three finalists were chosen by judges from the pool of 17 submissions to build their design. A team of volunteers built the Sukkahs on October 5 and the sukkahs were open to the public the following week for worship, art activities and the Sukkot at the Ranch event on October 12, which attracted 1,800 guests.
This year’s themes were release and renewal and the canvas to express these themes is the Sukkah. Each Sukkah is required to adhere to a list of guidelines including that the structure be temporary; it must have at least two-and-a- half walls; it must be big enough to contain a table and most of a person’s body; and it must have a roof made of shade-providing organic materials through which a person can see the stars.