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Craig Newick's Chanukah Houses

Earlier today architect Craig Newick sent me a note with a little one-off Chanukah project he did for his wife and I couldn't resist sharing it. He made a menorah of houses, eight small models along a plank with a wind turbine as the shamash. It seems a fitting way to ring in final day of the festival of lights. Though when I asked him if he was going to set the whole thing ablaze tonight at sundown he responded, "Treating them like candles would tax our local fire department."

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The design challenge was to create a new house each day, with the final product being a menorah-like structure of models. "I was thinking about what I was going to do this year," he says, "and I settled on the idea of the menorah and making 'sketches' of a house a day for each day of Chanukah."

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He did with all the rigor you'd expect of an architect, taking the challenge seriously as a design project, not just a bit of aesthetic play. "These models were made proportionately like you would do if you were sketching, but they are close to 1/32 inch = 1 foot and roughly 1 ½” high."

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"The windmill shamash [the shamash is the candle, often in the higher, central spot on a menorah, used to light the others] was an afterthought," he says, "as it became obvious that this menorah would need a shamash to keep the whole thing going." Here's hoping a few kibbutzim looking for a bit of green energy will follow suit.

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Happy Chanukah to you and your wife, Craig, and to all our readers lighting the last candle tonight!

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