Documentary at The Francis commemorates New York's "Sukkah City" in 2010


The documentary “Sukkah City” will be presented by the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, the AIA Florida Gulf Coast Chapter and The Center for Architecture Sarasota this evening at The Francis, 1289 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota.

Cocktails are at 6 p.m., followed by the movie at 7. The 67-minute documentary will be followed by a question-and-answer session with architects Babak Bryan and Henry Grosman, People’s Choice winners of the 2010 architecture competition “Sukkah City.”

The film 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.

"Fractured Bubble" | Henry Grosman and Babak Bryan, Long Island City "“The sukkah is a bubble: ephemeral and transient,” say Bryan and Grosman. Emphasizing its impermanence, Fractured Bubble is made of simple materials: plywood, marsh grass, and twine. Its form is a sphere fractured into three sections. The schach is composed of phragmites, an invasive species of marsh grass harvested from Corona Park, Queens."

"Fractured Bubble," a sukkah by Henry Grosman and Babak Bryan, Long Island City.

A sukkah is a structure described in Torah. Israelites were instructed to 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 Israel. Many Jews continue this practice to this day. The documentary shows how the architects (almost all of whom are non-Jews) were challenged by the strict Jewish laws prescribing how a sukkah must be built—motivating them to think far outside the box.

When Foer, a best-selling author and journalist, 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.

The Sukkah City project was sponsored by Reboot, an organization that aims to catalyze innovation in Jewish culture, rituals and traditions. The film 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.

Tickets are $75 if purchased in advance; $95 at the door. Tickets can be purchased online by clicking HERE. For more information about this event, contact Jeremy Lisitza at 941-343-2113or

Last modified: March 4, 2016
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