Sukkah 2015 / 5776

Temporary shelter made from salvaged chimney bricks.

Status: built and dismantled in September and October 2015.

We converted our furnace to a gas condensing type and replaced our water heater with an electric heat pump.  That meant our utility chimney was no longer needed to exhaust flue gases.  So after 105 years of service, we dismantled it and used the bricks for this year's sukkah.

It took an entire day with a hammer and cold chisel to chip off the old limestone mortar.  Fortunately it was aged and crumbled fairly easily.  The bricks themselves were in fairly good condition. They were Duwamish bricks, dug from the mud of Seattle's principal river and fired at fairly low temperature.  Because they were intended for a utilitarian chimney, they were neither flat faced nor of uniform dimension.

The chimney yielded about 600 bricks.  That was just enough to build a 6 foot diameter circle almost 6 feet high.  Spacing the bricks was a necessity to make that quantity extend that diameter and height.  The spaces created a wonderful closed yet open effect when viewed from the inside.

The weather was marginal and our schedule was hectic, so we really only enjoyed one lovely warm evening of convivial conversation with eight of us circled cozily around the table just inside the brick enclosure.

At the end of the holiday, the bricks were taken to Portland, Oregon of all places to have a third life as the footpath for a church.