Reimagining the Sukkah

Kehilla Residential Programme invites architects, students, artists, builders and allied design professionals to submit design proposals to the inaugural Sukkahville Design Competition. The aim of this open competition, inspired by Sukkah City 2010, is to design a temporary, freestanding Sukkah within the site of the Sherman Campus at Bathurst and Sheppard in Toronto during the holiday of Sukkot. You are encouraged to reimagine the traditional notion of sukkah within a contemporary design language and approach.

A Sukkah is a temporary structure constructed for use annually during the week-long Jewish festival of Sukkot. It is described in Leviticus as a symbolic wilderness shelter, symbolizing the frailty and transience of life. While building a sukkah is a particular Jewish ritual observance, it represents many conceptual themes surrounding the essential nature of dwelling, which are universal in nature. Proposing an innovative sukkah design which delicately balances the inherent dichotomies of new/old, open/closed, temporary/permanent is the challenge inherent in this competition.

The temporary structure must adhere to the following traditional constraints:

  • The footprint of the Sukkah must be no smaller than 27″ x 27″ , but no larger than 100 square feet.
  • The height of the Sukkah must be taller than 38″ high, and no taller than 30′-0″
  • The Sukkah must have a minimum of two walls, with a partial third wall at least as wide as a single hand span.
  • The roof of the Sukkah must be made of some form of natural materials. During the day, it must provide more shade than sunlight. During the evening, the stars must be visible at night from within the Sukkah.
  • The roof must not be comprised of and must be fully detached from any living tree, branch or plant.
  • Roof material may not be tightly secured with wire. Metal roof supports may not be used to support the roof material.
  • Wall materials are not limited, and pieces of the wall can be spaced up to a maximum of one foot apart.
  • Walls must be sturdy enough to withstand a steady wind.
  • Decorative elements can be introduced to the design of the Sukkah interior to make it feel more comfortable or “home-like”
  • While the Sukkah must be built anew each year, a sustainable design approach, which minimizes the waste and disposal of the Sukkah materials is strongly encouraged.

Five winning designs will be selected by a hand-picked high-profile jury to be constructed in a visionary village on the Sherman Campus from October 11-12, 2011. Finalists will be notified by September 6, 2011, and will be responsible for obtaining construction materials and constructing their designs. A stipend of $1,500 per winning design will be awarded to assist with construction and material costs.

Questions and answers will be conducted from July 11 to 22, 2011. The deadline for submissions is 12:00 EST on Thursday, August 25, 2011. All submissions must be sent to:

Kehilla Residential Programme

262 Ridley Boulevard

Toronto, Ontario

M5M 4N6

One single horizontal board size ARCH D (36″x24″) per entry will be accepted. The presentation technique is absolutely open and at the discretion of the entrant. The presentation should clearly document the proposed design as well as the approach to the construction. Project boards should be completely anonymous. Please tape a single, sealed, letter-sized envelope to the back of the board containing the name and contact information of the entrant. Finalists will be notified on September 6, 2011.

The Kehilla Residential Programme is a non-profit housing agency whose mandate is to identify and champion housing initiatives responsive to the needs of the Jewish community in the greater Toronto area. Established in 1982, Kehilla is an affiliate agency of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. Under its mandate, Kehilla has been both a leader in the development of many affordable housing initiatives as well as in offering property management services for community housing projects. With the goal of raising awareness to support Kehilla and its initiatives, the Sukkahville competition has been instituted to bring focus to the many significant affordable housing issues that are prevalent in our own community.

For more information, please visit, and feel free to send any questions or concerns by e-mail to or by phone to 416.932.1212.