Sukkahville Design Contest, Toronto Nathan Phillips Square Competition, Ontario

Sukkahville 2014 Competition

Toronto Design Contest: Kehilla Residential Programme – Ontario Architecture

14 Apr 2014

Sukkahville 2014 Design Competition

Sukkahville Architecture Contest

Location: Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Re-Imagining the Sukkah

Kehilla Residential Programme invites architects, students, artists, builders and allied design professionals to submit design proposals for the fourth annual Sukkahville Design Competition. The aim of this open competition is to design a temporary, free standing Sukkah to be built on Nathan Phillips Square in front of Toronto’s City Hall for the holiday of Sukkot, with a contemporary design language and approach.

Sukkahville 2014 Competition
photo : Steven Evans / Chris Pommer


A sukkah is a temporary structure constructed for use annually during the week long Jewish festival of Sukkot. The original source for this tradition is Leviticus 23:42-43, where it is described as a reminder of the booths that the children of Israel dwelt in after God brought them out of their slavery in Egypt. Many later interpreters have understood the sukkah as symbolizing the frailty and transience of life.

While building a Sukkah is a particular Jewish ritual observance, it represents many conceptual themes surrounding the essential nature of dwelling, which are universal in nature. Proposing an innovative Sukkah design which delicately balances the inherent dichotomies of new/old, open/closed, temporary/permanent is the challenge inherent in this competition.

Nathan Phillips Square Toronto:
Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto
photo : Steven Evans / Chris Pommer


Kehilla Residential Programme is a non-profit housing agency whose mandate is to identify and champion housing initiatives responsive to the needs to the Jewish community and its neighbours in the greater Toronto area. Established in 1982, Kehilla is an affiliate agency of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. Under its mandate, Kehilla has been both a leader in the development of many affordable housing initiatives, as well as in offering property management services for community housing projects. With the goal of raising awareness to support Kehilla and its initiatives, the Sukkahville competition has been instituted to bring focus to the many significant affordable housing issues that are prevalent in our own community. Feel free to send us any questions or concerns you may have by email or by phone.

Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto:
Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto
photo : Steven Evans / Chris Pommer


To successfully submit your design for Sukkahville, please follow the instructions below:

1) Register by May 23 2014, please send an email to: with your contact details and submission title. A registration number will be assigned to you.

2) Pay the Competition Fee ($36 CAD) by May 23 2014. You can do this in one of the following ways:

a) Call or email in a credit card number to 416 932 1212 or and we will process through our Square account
c) Mailing in a cheque or money order to our address provided below
d) Pay with cash at our office at 262 Ridley Boulevard in Toronto. Please call 416 932 1212 to make an appointment to see us in person.
All donations from Sukkahville are utilized by Kehilla to promote the cause of establishing new affordable housing for the local Jewish community.

3) Digitally submit your Competition Panel through by June 16 2014 to

One high resolution, Tabloid size (11”x17”), .pdf will be accepted per entry. The file size is to not exceed 10mb. Please include a smaller, 1mb version of your submission as well. The presentation layout is at the discretion of the entrant. Presentation boards should be completely anonymous and only include the registration number provided. Please name your digital file “Sukkah Title – Registration Number.pdf”

Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto
photo : Steven Evans / Chris Pommer


Eight winning designs will be chosen by a select high-profile jury to be constructed on Nathan Philips Square from October 14th to October 15th, 2014. Finalists will be notified by July 21st 2014 and will be responsible for procuring construction materials and constructing their designs. A stipend of $3,600 per winning design will be awarded to assist with construction, materials and transportation costs. Prize money will be awarded for 1st Place, 2nd Place and People’s Choice Awards.

Selection Process

Stage One

The first stage consists of a Rabbi ensuring that all Sukkah proposals comply with Jewish tradition as set out in the “Design Criteria” section.

Stage Two

All approved Sukkot (plural of Sukkah) will then proceed to selection by our panel of accomplished jurors where eight Finalists will be awarded.

Stage Three

Once Finalists construct their proposals during the event of Sukkahville, the judges will evaluate the Sukkot and award the Grand Prize winners. People’s Choice is awarded through a public voting procedure and is announced at conclusion of the event.


May 23 Registration deadline
June 16 Submission deadline
July 21 Finalists will be notified
TBD Construction Period
October 14-15 Public Display
October 15 Awards Ceremony

Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto
photo : Steven Evans / Chris Pommer

Design Constraints

The temporary structure must adhere to the following traditional design constraints:


The footprint of the Sukkah must be no smaller than 27” x 27”, but no larger than 100 square feet

The Sukkah may not be anchored to the site, but must be stabilized or weighed down without penetrating or damaging the hard surfaces or exceeding the maximum permitted footprint.


The height of the Sukkah must be taller than 38” high, and no taller than 30’-0”

The structure of the walls can be made from any kind of materials and can be spaced up to a maximum of one foot apart

The sukkah must have at least two complete sides and part of a third side, at least 16” wide. There should be a sense of enclosure to the sukkah.

The bottom edge of the sides must be within 12” of the ground

Walls must be sturdy enough to withstand the impact of ordinary winds


The roof structure material must be constructed with a natural material (e.g. wood, tree branches, bamboo mats or poles, etc.).

In addition, the roof structure must be partially covered with a material that grows from the soil and is completely detached from the ground. (Examples: leaves, branches, branches with leaves)

This roof design and its covering should be loose enough so that one can see the sky, yet thick enough so that the shadow it casts on the ground exceeds the light thrown by the sun.

While innovative roof and wall shapes and geometries are encouraged, the sukkah must provide a sense of shelter and offer respite from the elements.

Nathan Phillips Square Toronto
picture from architect


While the sukkah must be built anew each year, a sustainable design approach, which minimizes the waste and disposal of the Sukkah materials, is strongly encouraged.

To assist with the design challenge, please ask yourself the following questions

1. If I stand in my sukkah during the day, will there be more shade than sun?
2. Are the walls more closed than open?
3. Is the roof made out of natural material, which has been detached from the ground?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no” your entry will be disqualified
twitter: @kehillarp
facebook: kehillaresidentialprogramme
Tel: 416 932 1212

Sukkahville Competition – external link to Sukkah competition website

Location:262 Ridley Boulevard, Toronto, M5M 4N6

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Comments / photos for the Sukkahville 2014 Design CompetitionToronto Architecture Contest page welcome

Sukkahville 2014 Competition