While deeply rooted in the Jewish tradition, the sukkah is related to the architectural theme of the “primitive hut:” Adam’s house in paradise. Like Thoreau’s cabin on Lake Walden, the sukkah is meant to provide a space for elemental activities like sleeping and eating. It is characterized by its structural simplicity, its temporary nature, and a set of ancient rules regarding its geometry of exposure and enclosure. Unlike the cabin, the main focus of the sukkah is the open roof, which is partially covered to provide shade during the day, and allow the stars to be visible at night.
The design for a contemporary sukkah on Union Square complies with the traditional rules. However, it draws its inspiration from a wider range of architectural predecessors. Its elective affinities are Asian tea pavilions, the principles of Miesian modernism, and American balloon frame construction. A cosmopolitan sukkah in one of the most cosmopolitan places in the world.