NewSchool of Architecture and Design Students Win First Place for Structure Commemorating Jewish Tradition

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Project incorporating sustainability elements was developed during summer studio class at NSAD for entry in the Leichtag Foundation’s Sukkah Design Expo 2013.

A team of NSAD students won first place for their design of a sukkah for the Leichtag Foundation’s Sukkah Design Expo 2013. Rendering: NSAD student team

A team of NewSchool of Architecture and Design students won first place at the Sukkah Design Expo 2013 for their design of a temporary structure called a sukkah that commemorates the agricultural harvest and has significant meaning for the Jewish community. The event was sponsored by the Leichtag Foundation as part of events marking the Jewish Sukkot harvest festival tradition in September.

The NSAD student team received a $1,800 cash prize for their winning entry, which was chosen through a public vote. Students designed and built the project as part of a summer studio class at NSAD led by Instructor Chuck Crawford. The student team included Gwynn Beasley, Nour Kassam, Trang Nguyen, Thomas Quaas and Jessica Vences. To see a video of the sukkah entries:

The NSAD student team built the temporary structure at a 67-acre agricultural property recently purchased in north San Diego County by the Leichtag Foundation. The students incorporated sustainability elements in their representation of the theme of water for the competition. Naomi Rabkin of the Leichtag Foundation said the NSAD student team won praise from the public and Foundation’s advisory committee and staff for its “creative design concept, and thoughtful and comprehensive explanation and renderings.”

With three walls and an open door, the sukkah represents inclusivity, hospitality and the temporary nature of life. For the project, NSAD students conformed to specifications that respect the Jewish traditions while also integrating approaches to their design that reflect NSAD’s own emphasis on sustainability, such as the use of repurposed wood pallets. They also encourage interactivity in their design by including verses on the wood pallets on one side and providing paint and brushes on the other side for visitors to decorate with religious verses.

About NewSchool of Architecture and Design
NewSchool of Architecture and Design (NSAD), founded in 1980, is located in San Diego, California. For the past two years, DesignIntelligence has ranked NSAD among the top 10 undergraduate architecture schools in the western United States in its publication “America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools.” NSAD is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), a national accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. NSAD’s Bachelor of Architecture, Master of Architecture and Executive Master of Architecture programs are accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). NSAD also offers a pre-professional Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, along with a Bachelor of Science in Digital Media Arts, a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management, a Master of Construction Management and a Master of Science in Architecture. The school’s expanding global design education offerings include a new Bachelor of Interior Design program available in 2013–2014. For more information, visit

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Anna Cearley
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