The Constraints: What makes a Sukkah?
• Although there is no traditional maximum area for a Sukkah, the maximum dimensions for this competition are 19' x 8' x 15'.
• The Sukkah must enclose a minimum area equal to 7 x 7 handbreadths, enough to hold a person's head, most of their body, and a table. (1 handbreadth = 3.5 inches).
• The Sukkah must be at least 10 handbreadths tall, but no taller than 20 cubits (1 cubit is approx. 21 inches).
• The Sukkah must have three walls—two of the walls must be complete, but the third wall does not need to be complete.
• When the 2 complete walls face each other, and an incomplete wall greater than 4 handbreadths is perpendicular, it must be within 3 handbreadths distance from one of the complete walls.
• When the 2 complete walls form a corner, and an incomplete wall of at least one handbreadth is perpendicular to one of the complete walls, it must be within 3 handbreadths distance from one of the complete walls.
• The base of the wall must be within 3 handbreadths of the ground; the top of the walls must be within 3 handbreadths of the roof but need not touch it directly, provided the walls sit directly below and parallel to the edge of the roof.
• The Sukkah roof must be made of individual construction elements that are below four handbreadths in width.
• The Sukkah cannot reside under any overhanging surface, including any part of a tree.
• The Sukkah, as defined by Talmudic law, may be built in a tree, like a
treehouse. The Sukkah, as permitted by WUSTL campus guidelines, must
• The Sukkah, as defined by Talmudic law, may be built on a wagon, a
convertible automobile, on a boat, or on a camel. The Sukkah, as allowed
by WUSTL campus guidelines, must not use a motorized vehicle or a whole
or partial animal, living or otherwise.
• The Sukkah must have walls that remain unshaken by a standard continuous wind.
• A whale may be used to make the Sukkah's walls. However, a whale may
not be brought onto the WUSTL campus. Come on, do we have to say it?
Please don't use a whale.
• The Sukkah must have a roof made of schach: the leaves and/or branches of any tree or plant that has been removed from the ground.
• The roof cannot be made of bundles of straw or sticks that are tied together, although untied straws or sticks may be okay.
• The roof cannot be made of food.
• The roof cannot be made of utensils or anything conventionally functional when it is not part of the Sukkah.
• The Sukkah must draw the eyes up to its roof and to the sky above.
• At night, one must be able to see the stars from within the Sukkah through the roof.
• By day, one must have more shade than sun provided by the construct of the roof.
• The Sukkah is a naturally ephemeral architecture.
• The Sukkah exists as an ancient archetype in Jewish tradition, recalling the homeless exodus through the desert and the festival of harvest, pilgrimage, and homecoming.
• The Sukkah provides prospect and refuge, the promise of shelter and vulnerability of exposure.
• The Sukkah embodies many provisions and exceptions.
• The Sukkah connects the ethereal and the subastral.