While not quite Washington Square Park, Union Square has its fair share of oddballs, from skateboarders to arts vendors. Add to that a dozen sukkahs, which just arrived as part of the Sukkah City architecture competition. Typically a staid affair of canvas and corn husks to commemorate the Jewish harvest holiday of Sukkot, these sukkahs are a departure, devised by Jonathan Safron Foer’s younger brother Joshua to challenge what these mystical structures could be.
Not much and too much, it turns out. In the former category is “In Tension,” an entry from Brooklyn-based firm SO-IL, who helped design the New Museum and won this summer’s P.S. 1 Young Architecture Program, where they installed a celebrated, interactive piece that… looks a hell of a lot like their sukkah. The firm argues this was all part of the plan, to recycle the pieces of the installation, a nod to sustainability and “green” design. Yet everyone the Observer talked to at Thursday night’s pre-installation party in Gowanus agreed that the thing looked phoned in.
On the other end of the spectrum is THEVERYMANY’s “P.YGROS.C,” which was so ambitious, it fell apart while in transit, coming apart on the Manhattan Bridge, Josh Foer said over the phone. “It was a tremendous experiment, and as an experiment, the outcome was not a structure that was actually stable,” Foer said. The piece was made up from a “natural fiber-composite material” that was supposed to sorta breath and grow in the wind and rain. The gusts coming off the East River must have been too much.
As for the 11 that made it, Foer said the votes are still being counted on the People’s Sukkah, which will stay up all week. The rest come down tonight, so hurry before they’re all gone. If you can’t make the trip, consider Curbed’s delightful-as-usual Rendering v.s. Reality slideshow.