Then A Memorial

PROJECT PARTNER
Lawndale Christian Community Church and Mishkan Chicago


PROJECT PARTNER
Lawndale Christian Community Church and Mishkan Chicago

PROJECT MISSION
Create an open, welcoming space for shared worship and a memorial to honor the lost lives of North Lawndale youth.

The project, first a sukkah, then a memorial, reflects the interfaith collaboration and intertwined histories of the Jewish and Christian communities that participated in its design. Architecture for Public Benefit and Trent Fredrickson Architecture collaborated with two faith organizations, the Lawndale Community Christian Church and Mishkan Chicago, to create a memorial and space of shared worship. The project, located in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood, was shaped by workshops and conversations with both church and synagogue communities. It took on two lives: the first as a sukkah, a gathering space celebrating the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, and the second as a memorial for the North Lawndale community, honoring the lives of 41 young people lost to gun violence. As a sukkah, the project activated a vacant lot in North Lawndale during the Chicago Sukkah Design Festival. The space hosted collective programming and was open and welcoming to all. 

The project, first a sukkah, then a memorial, reflects the interfaith collaboration and intertwined histories of the Jewish and Christian communities that participated in its design. The process was guided by community sessions and study of Ecclesiastes 3, a shared scripture that is read during the holiday of Sukkot and during times of transition and remembrance. The walls of the structure act as storage vessels and provide moments of connection, storytelling, and remembrance. During the Festival, the sukkah activated a vacant lot in North Lawndale through collective programming and served as a space for collective worship and gathering, and afterwards, as a memorial honoring the lives of young community members that have been lost to gun violence. The project captures the individual perspectives of each community member celebrating life’s varied and ever-changing seasons.

Sukkah Memorial Diagram
Sukkah Community Engagement

During our design and visioning sessions, we worked with the pastor, deacon, and rabbi and identified Ecclesiastes 3 as a grounding text for our workshops. The scripture speaks of life’s changing seasons and is familiar and meaningful to both communities. It is read every year during the holiday of Sukkot and throughout the year during moments of loss and transition. Our first workshop was an opportunity for small group study, where we explored individual and collective meanings of the text. In a subsequent session, participants were invited to capture their discussions and interpretations by creating artifacts that would become an integral part of the design.

Collective (113 of 190) loveED
Chicago Sukkah Design Festival
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APB Sukkah Aperatures
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The design reinterprets a sukkah’s traditional components with three large walls supporting a light thatch roof. The scripture is etched on an inclined plane, and a series of openings offer unexpected views of and through the walls, inviting visitors to engage with the artifacts and each other. The space celebrates the deepening relationship between both congregations and acknowledges their shared histories and connection to North Lawndale.

Void Diagram
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APB Sukkah Use Configurations
APB Sukkah Shared Worship
APB Sukkah Artifacts Up Close
ARTIFACT MAKING 3
Artifact Making
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APB Sukkah Periscope

This summer, the structure will be relocated to Lawndale Christian Community Church where it will serve as a memorial for their young community members who were lost to violence. The thatch roof that defined the sukkah will be removed in the memorial garden, and the three large walls will take on a new configuration. Ultimately, both the sukkah and the memorial provide an opportunity to celebrate the continued relationship between both congregations and to honor and reflect on life’s varied and ever-changing seasons.

Sukkah-Gif3000

PROJECT IMPACT
“APB listens well to their clients. Through well-crafted questions and group exercises APB elicited key ideas from our stakeholders team. The design of the installation reflected that our team's desires and vision was heard. It was an overall great experience working with APB.” 
Diana, Lawndale Christian Community Church

Nootan’s Photo

COLLABORATORS
Design and Build: Architecture for Public Benefit and Trent Fredrickson Architecture
Community Engagement: Architecture for Public Benefit and Trent Fredrickson Architecture
Fabrication and Assembly Support: Jason Pion and Jayhawk Reese-Julien
Photography: Brian Griffin, Adam Fogel, Norvell Tolbert
Sukkah Festival Hosts: Could Be Design and Lawndale Pop-Up Spot

Architecture For Public Benefit is a Chicago and Boston based practice on a mission to make exceptional design accessible to all.

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