Princeton, NJ


Sukkah Village 2021: Cultural Event Blends Design and Spirituality, Raising Awareness of Social Issues

Sep 10, '21 1:12 PM EST

PRINCETON, N.J. – Locally headquartered integrated architecture and design firm JZA+D, in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks and thanks to sponsorship from AIA-New Jersey and others, has announced a unique, sprawling multi-day cultural event: Sukkah Village 2021 will take place at several sites throughout Downtown Princeton, coinciding with the Jewish holiday Sukkot, which occurs in the latter half of September. 

Event organizers, sponsors and participants hope that Sukkah Village 2021 will raise awareness of the power of design to address key social issues impacting New Jersey and the country – particularly housing insecurity, homelessness, hunger, sustainability, and the struggles of refugees worldwide, all of which resonate with the themes and traditions associated with Sukkot.

Eight high-profile architecture and design firms will join student design competition winners from the New Jersey Institute of Technology to participate in this major public exhibition and celebration. From September 19-29, eventgoers may visit several designated sites around Downtown Princeton to experience sukkahs – the temporary shelters which figure prominently in Sukkot celebrations – designed by the architects and student teams. A total of eleven sukkahs will be erected on sites provided by venue partners – nine designed by practicing architects and two by the student teams selected from a competition held this past Spring. Additional Sukkah Village programming includes panel discussions, walking tours, a film screening, and a family-oriented arts and crafts gathering.

Sukkah Village 2021 will also be a platform for fundraising efforts for associated charitable organizations. To that end, the sukkahs themselves – all of which can be taken apart and reassembled each year for Sukkot – will be sold via an online auction which will open to bids just prior to Labor Day and close just after Sukkah Village 2021 ends, at which point winning bidders will be contacted. Interested parties can visit the auction website at

“Sukkot is a harvest celebration, but it is also meant to highlight the importance and fragility of shelter,” says Joshua Zinder, local architect, entrepreneur, managing partner of JZA+D, and current president of AIA-New Jersey, the statewide professional organization for practicing and aspiring architects. “Thanks to the phenomenal professional and student designers involved, and to the commitment of key partner and sponsor organizations, we expect Sukkah Village 2021 will capture the imaginations of eventgoers and inspire them to contribute to solutions for the range of critical issues facing New Jersey, such as homelessness, hunger, and a growing affordable housing gap.”

Sukkah Village 2021 was inspired in part by Zinder's participation in a similar event in New York City. Galvanizing the state’s architectural community, Zinder and his firm have worked to form and strengthen partnerships with like-minded designers and their firms to develop Sukkah Village in a way that would promote thoughtful conversations about critical issues facing their communities.

According to Zinder, a partnership with local philanthropic organization The Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks, contributed considerably to making the event possible.

"This event provides a unique opportunity to feature talented architects and share their vision with the local community, in celebration of Sukkot," says Daniel Herscovici, Board President of the Jewish Federation. “The festival holiday commemorates the years the Jews spent wandering the desert, and how G-D sheltered us from the harsh desert conditions. Sukkah Village 2021 is an opportunity to highlight issues of housing insecurity faced by our local community and communities around the world, to spark conversations about these and related issues, and to inspire each other to address them. It is a meaningful event, and we're proud to be involved."

Other event partners and sponsors include AIA-New Jersey, Princeton Hillel CJL, the Jewish Center of Princeton NJ, Arts Council of Princeton, and the Municipality of Princeton. A complete list of sponsors, organizing partners, and venue partners can be found in the fact sheet attached to this release, along with information on the sukkah design teams, details on the sukkah design guidelines, display locations, and a complete calendar of events.

All of the information is also available at the website,, where eventgoers can sign up to receive updates via email.

For more information and interviews with event organizers and partners, please contact C.C. Sullivan.


About Joshua Zinder Architecture + Design (JZA+D)

Located in Princeton, New Jersey, the emerging practice JZA+D was founded in 2006 by principal Joshua Zinder, AIA, to deliver multidisciplinary services for sustainable and contemporary buildings, interiors and product designs. The collective educational and professional experience of JZA+D’s staff spans more than 95 years in global markets, and its staff is encouraged and inspired to be cooperative partners, good listeners and creative problem-solvers. JZA+D has won numerous design awards and its work has been seen in publications around the world. The staff actively participates in trade and professional organizations such as AIA, NCARB, USGBC, ACSA, IIDA, IOREBA, NJRA and Gotham Networking. More than half of the firm’s architectural staff is LEED accredited. For more information, please visit


Sukkah Village 2021 FACT SHEET

NOTE: Sukkah Village 2021 continues to grow and add partners and sponsors as the event dates approach. Some details are still being finalized.

Please visit the website for the latest detailed information, and to sign up for updates by email.

EVENT:        Sukkah Village 2021

WHEN:           September 19-29, 2021

WHERE:           Princeton, New Jersey, various partner locations:

-        Arts Council of Princeton, 102 Witherspoon Street

-        Jewish Center of Princeton, 435 Nassau Street

-        Palmer Square, 3 Palmer Square (on Hulfish Street)

-        Nassau Presbyterian Church, 61 Nassau Street

-        YWCA Princeton, 59 Paul Robeson Place

-        Trinity Church Princeton, 33 Mercer Street



A unique cultural event, Sukkah Village 2021 is a celebration of the spiritual message of the eight-day Jewish festival holiday Sukkot, that is focused on the power of design to address humanitarian issues that resonate thematically with the festival and currently impact communities throughout New Jersey and beyond, such as housing insecurity, homelessness and hunger.

From September 19st to 29th, eventgoers will be able to visit designated sites around Downtown Princeton to see completely built and functional sukkahs – the temporary hut-like shelters which figure prominently in Sukkot celebrations. The sukkahs will be designed by eight practicing architecture firms from across the state, with two designed and built by student teams selected from a competition held this past spring, open to design and architecture students in or from New Jersey.

Sukkah Village 2021 will also include related events such as panel discussions and a film screening, and will be a platform for fundraising efforts for associated charitable organizations, including an online auction of the sukkahs themselves.



CALENDAR:    Online auction of sukkahs opens September 9

                        - Details at


                        - Kickoff evening, Sunday, September 19th

                        - Location: Arts Council of Princeton, 102 Witherspoon Street

                        - Join designers and event partners and sponsors for a screening of the short documentary film Sukkah City, plus an interactive discussion and informal meet-and-greet.

                        - Details and registration at


                        - Sukkahs open to public

                        - Sunday, September 19th to Wednesday, September 30th


                        - Informal walking tour , Monday, September 20th

                        - Details and registration at


                        - Talk on Homelessness, Wednesday, September 22nd

                        - Details and registration at


                        - Youth Group Activity, Thursday, September 23rd

                        - Details and registration at


                        - Talk on Sustainability, Thursday, September 23rd

                        - Details and registration at


                        - Talk on Refugees and Hunger, Saturday, September 25th

                        - Details and registration at


                        - “Sukkah Hop” with Architects, Sunday, September 26th

                        - Design teams will be on hand to answer questions about the sukkah designs.

                        - Also at each sukkah, a representative from one of the charitable/community partners will be on hand to discuss their work, and how it relates to Sukkot and the sukkah design

                        - Details and registration at


                        - Auction closes, Thursday, September 30th


WHO:              Steering committee

-        The Jewish Center

-        Arts Council of Princeton

-        The Jewish Federation

-        Center for Jewish Life, Princeton Hillel

-        American Institute of Architects, New Jersey

-        Sustainable Princeton

-        Joshua Zinder Architecture + Design

-        Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks

-        Board of Rabbis


                        Venue partners

-        Jewish Center of Princeton

-        Trinity Church

-        Arts Council of Princeton

-        Nassau Presbyterian Church

-        Palmer Square

-        YWCA


WHO:              Community partners

-        Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks

-        American Institute of Architects, New Jersey Chapter

-        Home Front NJ

-        Arts Council of Princeton

-        Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK)

-        United Way of Greater Mercer County

-        Rescue Mission of Trenton

-        Send Hunger Packing

-        Princeton Community Housing

-        Arm in Arm

-        YWCA

-        Sustainable Princeton

-        The Jewish Center of Princeton

-        Board of Rabbis Princeton Mercer Bucks

-        Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton

-        Trinity Church

-        Nassau Presbyterian Church

-        Jewish Family & Children’s Services

-        Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton

-        Jewish Community Foundation

-        Princeton Senior Resource Center (PSRC)

-        Princeton Housing Authority

-        Witherspoon-Jackson Historical & Cultural Society 

-        TJC Interfaith Refugee Resettlement Committee


Sukkah design teams

-        HDR, Inc.

-        JZA+D

-        KSS Architects

-        Michael Landau Architects

-        Michael Graves Architecture & Design

-        Mills + Schnoering Architects

-        Seth A. Leeb Architect

-        Studio Hillier

-        Celestial Tensility (student team)

-        A Windowed Sukkah (student team)


About the Sukkot holiday, and the sukkah

Sukkot is a weeklong Jewish holiday that is held in the autumn to celebrate the gathering of the harvest and commemorate the sheltering of the Israelites in the wilderness. The observance of Sukkot is marked by spending as much time as possible in a sukkah, a recreation of the hut-like structures that the Jews lived in during the 40 years in the wilderness following the exodus from Egypt.

The goal for the observant is to eat all meals in the sukkah—particularly the festive meals on the first two nights of the holiday—and even to sleep in the sukkah, and perhaps invite friends and family to spend time with you there, which is considered a mitzvah (good deed).

As a temporary dwelling, the sukkah symbolizes the fragility of human existence. Sukkot is a time to appreciate the shelter of our homes and our bodies. The festival holiday resonates with  issues and themes that face our communities today, such as homelessness, hunger, refugees, sustainability, and the need for affordable housing.


About the Sukkah Village displays

Conceived by local architect Joshua Zinder, Sukkah Village 2021 is a celebration of the power of design – and the power of each of us – to contribute to solutions to the challenges that face us. To design and build their sukkah each team had to follow a rigorous set of guidelines, some set forth by scripture and tradition while others are more specific to the Sukkah Village event itself and modern requirements for public safety.