The Jewish Federation Of Sarasota-Manatee, the AIA Florida Gulf Coast Chapter and The Center For Architecture Sarasota Present
An Evening at The Francis”
Featuring the Documentary “Sukkah City”
With Architects Babak Bryan and Henry Grosman,
Peoples Choice Winners of the 2010 Architecture Competition “Sukkah City”
Wednesday, March 2, The Francis
“Sukkah City” chronicles the 2010 architecture competition created by author Joshua Foer, which explored the creative potential of the ancient Jewish sukkah and created a temporary exhibition of 12 radically designed sukkahs in the heart of New York City. The event features a Q&A with architects Babak Bryan and Henry Grosman, who won the project’s People’s Choice Award.
(Sarasota-Manatee) When best-selling author and journalist Joshua Foer began to build his first sukkah, he wanted to move beyond the generic plywood boxes and canvas tents that have become the unimaginative status quo. He and Reboot co-founder Roger Bennett challenged architects and designers to design and construct 12 radical sukkahs as part of a 2010 competition and exhibition known as “Sukkah City.” The project was sponsored by Reboot, an organization that aims to catalyze innovation in Jewish culture, rituals, and traditions. The resulting 67-minute film, Sukkah City, explores how cutting-edge architectural design and highly thoughtful craftsmanship can inform and interpret a 3,000-year-old Jewish ritual structure for the 21st century. It tracks the competition from jury day, as an all-star cast of architects, academics and critics debate the merits of the 600 submissions; to the construction, installation and exhibition of the12 winning structures in Union Square in the heart of New York City; and the critical and popular response of some of the 200,000 New Yorkers who attended the two-day exhibition.
“An Evening at The Francis,” presented by The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, the AIA Florida Gulf Coast Chapter, and the Center For Architecture Sarasota, is Wednesday, March 2, at The Francis, 1289 N. Palm Avenue, in Sarasota. Hors doeuvres and cocktails are 6-7 p.m.; the documentary, Sukkah City will be shown at 7 p.m. Following the film is dessert and coffee and a Q&A session with architects and Sukkah City People’s Choice winners, Babak Bryan and Henry Grosman. Tickets are $75 if purchased in advance; $95 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at http://bit.ly/1SNHojU. For more information about this event, contact Jeremy Lisitza at 941-343-2113 or [email protected].
A sukkah is the name given to a structure described in Torah. The Children of Israel were instructed to annually commemorate their Exodus from Egypt by dwelling for seven days every autumn in temporary structures reminiscent of those in which they lived during their 40 years of wandering in the desert before settling in the Land of Israel. Many Jews continue this practice to this day. The documentary, Sukkah City, shows how the architects (almost all of whom are non-Jews) were challenged by the strict Jewish laws prescribing how a sukkah must be builtmotivating them to think far outside the box.
“What I love about Judaism, and why I think it remains vibrant after thousands of years, is that it has the strength and flexibility for interpretation and re-interpretation,” says Sukkah City’s director Jason Hutt. “Joshua Foer realized that there was tremendous creative potential in the sukkah and believed that a competition and exhibition could breathe new life into the structure and spark renewed interest in the holiday and the meanings surrounding it. In a sense, the film provides audiences with a more comprehensive understanding of Sukkah City than the exhibition did; the architects share the stories behind their designs; the audience sees how and why the winning structures were chosen; as well as the labor that went into their construction.”
Babak Bryan is a LEED-accredited registered architect in the state of New York. In 2011, he was recognized by Engineering News Record as one of the top 20 under 40 construction professionals in the New York Metro region. With a degree in engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Architecture from Columbia University, Bryan seeks a balance in his work between technical rigor and critical insight. He is currently an adjunct assistant professor at the Pratt Institute, and has taught at Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the City College of New York among others
Henry Grosman received his B.A. in computer science from Columbia University and his Master of Architecture from Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. He has worked in such diverse fields as interactive media, game design and telecommunications. Grosman has taught at Parsons School of Design in New York as well as Columbia University. He is currently co-coordinator of second year design studios at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. His academic and design work explore the intricate relationship between emerging computational techniques and design culture.
Their winning project for the “Sukkah City” 2010 competition is entitled “Fractured Bubble,” selected from a pool of over 650 competition entries. “The sukkah is a bubble: ephemeral and transient,” says Grosman. “It separates inside from outside with a thin, permeable membrane made of simple materials: plywood, marsh grass and twine. Its form is a sphere fractured into three sections. Each section rotated around a common datum. The structural grid and the rotation are all controlled parametrically. Because of the spherical geometry, each of the sections is both wall and roof simultaneously. The circles and the twine infill the surface of the sukkah. The twine creates another layer of crosshatch and the circles create the holes in the bubble.”
About The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee
The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to save Jewish lives and enhance Jewish life in the Sarasota-Manatee region, in Israel, and throughout the world. In addition, the Federation is responsive when worldwide catastrophes occur. For more information, call 941-371-4546 or visit www.jfedsrq.org.