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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Cornucopia Sukkah by Bill Caplan

March 15th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal

The building of a Sukkah, a temporary dwelling and gathering place to celebrate the harvest, is governed by many ancient parameters with biblical origin.  It must have two full walls and another that is at least partial, offer protection from the wind, and support a roof laid from organic matter called schach.  The schach must provide more than fifty percent daytime shade, yet beckons the stars at night.  Proportions, size, material, composition and attachment are all regulated within strict limits.  The Cornucopia Sukkah is an architectural form that remains true to its tradition while generating a fluid parametric interpretation.

Perspective View of Cornucopia Sukkah in early afternoon sun

  • Architect: Bill Caplan
  • Name of Project: Cornucopia Sukkah
  • Conceived and Designed by: Bill Caplan, 2010

Preliminary elevation study

The design emerges from the wood slat schach that eventually forms the sukkah cover, spirals from the earth creating a continuous surface for sitting or sleeping, becomes the table, winds higher to suspend harvest bounty, then ascends toward the stars to become its roof.  The Cornucopia Sukkah is a continuous expression of flow from earth to ascent.  Decoration of harvest bounty may be hung from its central swirl.  As the schach spirals upward around itself, shade patterns of varying density project within the sukkah, shifting patterns with day and night sky.

Overhead view Schach Spiral and Canvas Walls

Frugal use of only three materials and pipe connectors make for easy erection and disassembly. Dimensioned with commercial 1-1/2″ Schedule 40 or Schedule 10 Aluminum Pipe having standard bend radii and straight end extensions, frame pipe procurement is economical with fast delivery. The pipes are connected by in-stock tee, cross, linear, angle and adjustable fittings.  Sturdy wood schach slats serve as seating while thinner lightweight wood is used overhead, all cut in 1-1/2″ to 3-1/2″ widths.  Non-metallic pipe clamps affixed to the overhead slats, and metal spring clips mounted to the seat and table slats, attach the schach pieces to the frame.  Cotton canvas strips and Velcro, sewn to the three canvas walls, secure to the frame.

Floor Plan with Schach spiral emerging from ground level for sitting or reclining, then forming a table within the sitting area

The spiral cornucopia schach pattern provides more than half shade, projected as a changing geometric from the moving angle of the sun.  At night, the stars shine through.

Longitudinal section

Construction assembly of aluminum pipe frame

Wooden Schach slats

Assembly of Schach slats to frame

Addition of cotton canvas walls to Schach/frame assembly

Contact Bill Caplan

Category: Shelter

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