Yachad Sukkah

Sukkah City STL 2014 Design Competition - Top 10 Finalist

Team: Ken McCownJonathon Anderson, Nasar Saghafi and Phil Zawarus

A sukkah is a temporary structure for the Jewish festival of Suklot.  It is a gathering place made of natural materials and providing a sense of enclosure while still allowing connection to natural light.

The team's response was to weave 1/16" wood veneer to make a stable structure.  The material's thinness allows light to pass through it and gaps in the weave create patterns of light; the center of the structure is open to the sky.  The circular form is meant to provide a sense of community.

The woven structure allows it to be rolled up like a carpet, and then unfurled and locked together in a circular form. The maple wood veneer, designed and cut through digital fabrication, would allow for a low cost way to make the shelter.  

Our team's design was a finalist for this competition.  During the time on site it we experienced heavy winds and rain, which led to a serendipitous formal response of our Sukkah.  More photos of the installation and design can be seen here.

smart hut

Warming Hut 2014 Design Competition

Team: Ken McCown, Jonathon Anderson, Eric Weber, Joshua Vermilion, Nasar Saghafi, Phil Zawarus and Esther Garcia

This competition in Winnipeg asked designers to create a comfortable warming hut for skaters moving through the park during winter; use design to create thermal comfort outdoors.

The design response provides a memorable, comfortable and functional image in the landscape. A steel structure anchors structure to the landscape; on top of that structure is a lavender-colored felt folded in a strategically random pattern. The result is formally unique; the folds may create opportunities for a changing appearance depending upon how snow collects on the undulating surface.

For installation and storage, the structure may be placed on the skids and be slid to and from the site.

The experience offered to the visitors by this design is a comfortable shelter with textural interest. The mass of the felt should shield from the wind while retaining heat and be a comfortable surface that people can nest within.


Jardin de Metis Competition 2014

Team: Ken McCown, Jonathon Anderson, Joshua Vermilion, Nasar Saghafi, Phil Zawarus and Esther Garcia

This competition challenged designers to reinterpret the art of the garden.

A steel frame holds a network of clear tubes filled with water and seeds deposited into the system by visitors. The bench at either end of the entry is also a seed box. Visitors can come into the structure, deposit seeds and watch them flow through the tubes. As seeds begin to germinate, a strainer catches them; then visitors may take the seeds and plant them into the soil just beneath a shallow sand bed.

The combination of the sand and the tubing is meant to shift the attention of the visitor to a different scale. Looking at the seeds close up in the tubing, touching them and being exposed to the seeding process reinterprets the growing experience and heightens awareness to the unseen cycles in the life of a garden.