A Sukkah in the City

This past weekend, a team of volunteers from the Congregation Emanu-El gathered to realize Jonathan’s sukkah design in the temple’s courtyard.  Constructed for the Jewish festival of Sukkot, a sukkah is a temporary hut intended to replicate the wilderness dwellings built by the Israelites during their exodus from Egypt to the Holy Land.  Traditionally, a sukkah has three sides, branches for a roof, and serves as a space for eating, gathering, and sometimes sleeping during the holiday.  Always, the roof should be thin enough that one can see the stars from within the dwelling.

Like traditionally simple sukkahs, Jonathan’s design celebrates the harvest with modesty.  Twelve burlap panels are suspended in the temple’s courtyard, rising in height as they slope up around the fountain at the space’s center and towards the doors of the temple itself.  Each constructed of four slender wooden beams creating a rectangular frame for the burlap, the panels billow and bend gracefully in the wind and leave bold, geometric shadows on the bricks below.


“We challenged a group of architects to design a sukkah using creative form and the whole courtyard,” Rabbi Jonathan Singer explained to me on Saturday, emphasizing his desire to expand upon the temple’s previous smaller, wooden structures and create a site open to the entire community.  Even during its construction that afternoon, the suspended panel design proved inclusive; with direction from Jonathan and the other architects present, families stapled the burlap screens’ sides to the wooden beams and knelt to tuck uneven edges beneath the frame.  A congregation member and his son had stopped to help on their way to a soccer game, another woman had dedicated her entire afternoon to the project, and a mother ran to pick up another staple gun with her son in tow.  Rabbi Singer himself pulled a pair of scissors from his pocket to help the volunteers, saying “In the season of our joy, we remember with humility not to compartmentalize ourselves from nature.”


The sukkah will remain in place for the duration of the holiday, which ends on Sunday, October 4th.  For more creative sukkah designs, check out this gallery of entrants in 2010’s Sukkah City competition, which selected 12 designs to be constructed and displayed in New York City’s Union Square Park: http://www.sukkahcity.com/

Update: The sukkah continues to welcome the community with great success throughout the holiday.  Sunday evening, a crowd of people enjoyed fulfilling the mitzvah of eating in the sukkah, and the courtyard has since hosted preschool breakfasts, staff lunches, the congregation’s Youth Education family day, and Wednesday night’s Women’s Group gathering.

Sou Fujimoto Exhibit


A quick report from my visit of “Sou Fujimoto: FUTURE OF THE FUTURE” exhibit at Gallery-Ma in Tokyo.

Fujimoto 1

You can see the rigor/seriousness for the exploration of new and unconventional ideas in these models, but you can also see that there is a sense of humor and curiosity in his approach, and I really enjoyed that duality. Some of the models looked like ideas only kids would come up with: a pine cone as a shelter?

You also saw ideas being recycled/reimagined/reinvestigated. In some instances, parts of models were literally repurposed and reincorporated into the subsequent iteration of the study models. Forms were derived from these explorations, but the explorations were never just for the sake of form-making.

Fujimoto 2

I have seen a number of great exhibits in this space over the years but I found this one to be extra special. It helped that they had amazing contents to work with, but I was really impressed with the presentation. The two rooms and the courtyard were filled with a series of study models. The scales of the models worked really well with the scales of the spaces, and the models were curated to tell a very concise visual story of  the Sou Fujimoto’s philosophy through the evolution in his design.

- Tai

Fujimoto 3http://www.toto.co.jp/gallerma/ex150417/index_e.htm



Stage 3 – Tour of California


Early morning van ride to the Livermore Start.

Our friends at Murray Engineers, Renaissance Stone Care & Waterproofing, Von Clemm Construction & VIA hosted an event that invited approximately 50 local tradespeople/bicycling enthusiasts to ride Stage 3 of the Tour of California before the pros hit the course. About 50 participants were shuttled from the Los Altos for a 7am start in Livermore. The ride was fully supported with rest stops, lunch on top of Mt. Hamilton and VIP access at the Finish Line of the stage. Finishing a couple hours ahead of the pros gave everyone time to change clothes, enjoy food and drink, relax, watch the remainder of the race on TVs, cheer on the Pros at the finish line and the enjoy the festival. I enjoyed a well-earned post ride meal of (9) tacos, multiple desserts, (3) cokes, and 2 quarts of water. Here are some photos from the day.

- Chris K.


Invited attendees (Architects, Engineers, Builders, Contractors)


View from the backside of Mt. Hamilton looking back towards Livermore.


Andy Murray being interviewed by Frankie Andreu.


Chris and Andy at the finish line after completing 77miles and 8000ft of climbing.

Presidio VC Offices Wins Interior Design Best of Year Award!

We are pleased to announce that Interior Design selected our Presidio VC Offices project as a winner in their Best of Year Awards program in the Small Office – Corporate category. Jonathan and Lindsey, who worked on the project alongside Caroline, Aaron, and many others, traveled to New York City to attend the award presentation event last week. We are very excited to have been recognized by such a prestigious awards program, especially with our first commercial project! We can’t wait to get working on our next one! Check out some pictures from Jonathan and Lindsey’s trip  and the awards event below.

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