Rothko Sukkah Design Competition

Rothko Sukkah Design Competition at the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale  

First Round Proposals Due April 1, 2023 

The Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale is seeking an architect, engineer, designer, and or artist to design and execute a new sukkah, which will be graciously funded by the Weiss family. Slifka is looking for someone to think expansively about what a sukkah can look and feel like. As a temporary dwelling associated with themes of joy, fragility, transience, and freedom, the sukkah provides the opportunity to embody these ideals, and more, in the physical space. The Weiss Family Sukkah will live at Slifka and be put together for every Sukkot.  

The competition will function in two rounds. The first round will be focused on the conceptual and the second on turning these conceptual ideas into a technically sound structure.  

Please reach out to Aviva Green ( with any questions.  

Round 1 

Through the embodiment of the above listed themes, the sukkah and the space it occupies are fertile ground to ask questions about openness, tradition, and the public and the private. Four specific images from the Jewish tradition provide conceptual grounding for these questions: clouds of glory; the sukkat shalom; the inversion of the ephemeral and permanent; and the harvest festival. As such, Rachel Leiken, the associate Jewish chaplain at the Slifka Center, taught a learning session about these images, which was recorded. To view the Zoom recording and the accompanying source sheet, please email Aviva at

In this round, you will be asked to contemplate one of these images and how one can acknowledge, investigate, grapple with, and transform them into space. Thinking deeply about the ways in which they can guide the creation of new experiences within an altered space, you will be asked to create a vision of how a sukkah can accomplish this.    

Please submit this form by April 1. Please note that if selected, you will be asked to translate your vision into a physical structure, which needs to fulfill the requirements of traditional Jewish law; have easy to follow instructions for assembly; be easily packed away, stored, and reassembled; and have replacement parts that can be readily acquired. The dimensions of the terrace where the sukkah will be built are 28’x61’-6”. To view photos of this space, click here.  

Round 2 

Selected finalists will be given a stipend of $2,500, two months, and detailed dimensions of the Slifka space to create a detailed design and execution plan for a sukkah, grounding in the conceptual vision from round one. There will be a virtual session with all finalists open to the Slifka community for a question and answer session. The second round of proposals will be due on June 22, 2023. The winner will receive an additional $2,500. The winner will need to be able to execute the building of the Sukkah over the summer/early fall of 2023. Slifka will cover all travel expenses.