Sukkah of the Signs \ The Homeless House

Sukkah of the Signs

The Sukkah of the Signs, also known as The Homeless House project, was constructed in New York City’s Union Square, as part of Sukkah City. For two days the structure, made of nearly 300 signs collected from indigent across the U.S., was visited by over 150,000 people.

The sukkah is comprised of 279 signs

Like traditional sukkahs, which recall the 40 years of wandering after exodus in the biblical story, The Sukkah of the Signs calls attention to the contemporary state of homelessness. By purchasing homeless signs from the individuals who made them, we also contributed to the short term needs of people living on the street.

Like the signs, the schach used to cover the roof was also collected from the street. Clippings from plants in Union Square Park and from the studio where the sukkah was constructed in Brooklyn create a dappling of light on the interior of the sukkah.

Observant observer

To insure that the sukkah was in accordance with Halakha, or Jewish religious law, a Rabbi, Dani Passow, was consulted in the design of the sukkah. Hear Rabbi Passow discuss The Sukkah of the Signs:

sukkah oculus frames view of sky and surrounding buildings


exploded axonometric diagram showing assembly

The final design varied from the original as the New York Building Department only allowed for a 10′ tall structure (vs. the original 18′ tall design). To maintain the original intent of framing the sky, the design was turned on its side.

Project Date: 2010
Project Team: Ronald Rael, Virginia San Fratello, Blane Hammerlund, Maricela Chan, Emily Licht
Fabrication: Karol Popek (Modelsmith International Inc.)
Project Info: Sukkah City | Sukkah of the Signs News | The Homeless House | Out of 624 submissions from 43 countries, twelve winners were selected by a panel of distinguished architects, designers, and critics.
Acknowledgements: Bryan Allen, Steven Brummond, Maricela Chan, Scott Ewart, Alzbeta Jungrova, Blane Hammerlund, Rockne Hanish, Phil and Amber House, Emily Licht, Colleen Paz, Ehren Tool, Karol Popek and his crew, Lauren Rosenbloom, Randolph Ruiz, Adam Tilove, Jenny Trumble and many others who offered advice and spread the word.

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