From Sept. 18-26, Wesleyan’s Jewish community will observe the holiday of Sukkot by living, studying, holding classes, meditating, eating and socializing in a structure made completely of bamboo and steel rods. On Sept. 9-11, four members of Wesleyan’s Physical Plant staff worked full days to assemble the massive temporary structure on the lawn of Olin Library.
WesSukkah was designed by 15 students enrolled in Wesleyan’s Architecture II class in 2009. For the past four years, Wesleyan’s Physical Plant staff has assembled and disassembled the massive structure in honor of the holiday. It’s been housed on Foss Hill, the Center for the Arts Green, and now in front of Olin Library.
The bamboo is framed on 46 high carbon steel pipes and six steel rods. Journeyman Carpenter Dean Maroun worked on the sukkah from a ladder.
The temporary structure, WesSukkah, is constructed of 1,600 culms of bamboo, measuring a combined 19,200 linear feet. WesSukkah provides a sacred space that adheres to a complex, medieval Rabbinic building code. Pictured at right is Javier Martinez, general maintenance mechanic.
Prith Chuth, materials handler, unpacked dozens of bags of bamboo.
Journeyman Carpenter Paul Martin used a rope to hoist the bamboo sections to the sukkah’s top.
In 2009, WesSukkah was honored with a “Faith and Form” Award for art and architecture from the American Institute of Architects.
The sukkah came with a 15-page instruction manual, created by the Architecture II class. The frame is buried two feet deep and is color-coded for easier installation.
During the annual holiday Sukkot, Jews commemorate the Israelites’ 40-year journey to the Holy Land.
A look inside the completed WesSukkah.