Craig Newick's Chanukah Houses

By Aaron Britt / Published by Dwell
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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."

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."

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.

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

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Aaron Britt

@aaronbritt

Aaron writes the men's style column "The Pocket Square" for the San Francisco Chronicle and has written for the New York Times, the Times Magazine, Newsweek, National Geographic and others.

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