Beth Tzedec Brady Horner Jason Johnson Joshua Taron Kristen Forward Matthew Parker SSHRC

Sukkah No. 5: Subject to Change


Date: 2016
Client: Beth Tzedec Congregation
Principal Investigator(s): Joshua M. Taron, Jason S. Johnson
Project Budget: $5,000
Research Assistants/ Project Team: Kristen Forward, Brady Horner, Matthew Parker
Funding Agencies: Beth Tzedec Congregation, SSHRC

This 8’x8’x8’ digitally fabricated object is the fifth in a series of five sukkahs designed and built by the LID for Calgary’s Beth Tzedec Congregation. The three Hebrew characters for “sukkah” are projected onto each set of parallel planes of the sukkah, which, when modeled in three dimensions form a space for social gathering.

The sukkah is designed to sit in any one of three positions thus allowing for different orientations from year to year. Constructed of urethane –coated CNC milled EPS foam chunks bolted together at aluminum plates, the sukkah is light weight and can be easily transported and assembled by a team of 4-6 people. With that same group, assembly or disassembly can be achieved in about 20 minutes without the need for skilled labor. These aspects of the design improve the design’s discoverability and allowed the project to achieve a high degree of precision without the involvement of costly building contractors.

The Laboratory for Integrative Design (LID) embarked on a five year long Sukkah project in collaboration with the Beth Tzedec Congregation in 2012. This video captures our journey through the celebration of the Jewish holiday across these five years and across five LID designed and built community Sukkahs. These Sukkahs experimented with parametric design and rule-based systems exploring scale and material in a tangible way while still communicating a religious framework tied to celebration and gratitude.
Andrea Patry Kevin Spaans Matthew Parker Vera Parlac

Soft Agile Spaces

Date: 2014
Client: n/a
Principal Investigator: Vera Parlac
Collaborators: n/a
Project Budget: Withheld
Research Assistants/ Project Team: Matt Parker,
Andrea Patry, Kevin Spaans
Sponsors: University of Calgary Seed Grant
Publications:  “Material as Mechanism in Agile Spaces”, in B.Kolarevic and V. Parlac Building Dynamics: Exploring Architecture of Change, United States, Routledge, June 2015

Project Description: Soft Agile Spaces project relies on non-mechanical material-based actuation using shape memory alloy springs (SMA) that are integrated into the structural lattice of the surfaces. The movement resulting from the material-based actuation of the lattice is augmented by an inflatable soft robot surface that extends the lattice system. The network of sensors distributed throughout the surface serves to enable information exchange between the surface, environment, and people. The Soft Agile Space project proposes an adaptable and responsive building envelope capable of sensing its environment and responding to it by changing its shape or revealing small occupiable spaces to passers-by. These spaces can provide shelter or mediate the temperature of the environment, making public spaces in harsh, cold climates more vibrant.


The “intelligence” of the surface’s physical environment is capable of incorporating climate and human-related conditions into its working. By sensing the environmental temperature, the surface can mediate between the internal and external environments.