Location
652 Lexington Avenue

Completion
2001

Client
Central Synagogue

Square Footage
25,000 SF

Architect
Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates, LLP

Project Executives
Ralph Thompson
Michael Gagliardi
Robert DaRos

Central Synagogue

Sciame was the Construction Manager responsible for the restoration of Manhattan’s oldest Synagogue. Built in 1870, it was ravaged by fire in 1998 and required major restoration and reconstruction to recapture the original grandeur of the building. The building, being fully exposed to weather, required immediate stabilization and the erection of a temporary roof structure. New structural wood roof trusses were integrated into the building along with a new slate roof, using slate from the original quarry.

Fiberglass was used to restore the ornate crenellations that circle the onion shaped dome on the towers. Additionally, 23-carat gold leaf was applied to the decorative bands of the domes, finials, and ribs of the tower. Smaller finials that crown the adjacent stair towers were reconstructed using copper and then topped with gilded stars.

Three 6’ square stained-glass laylight windows and twelve double-story stained glass windows were restored. Work also included the integration of a new HVAC system with five new air-intake ventilators into the roof, the re-pointing and cleaning of the sandstone exterior, and the complete restoration of the interiors.

Upon stabilization of the roof, plaster specialists were brought in to make molds of all remaining profiles. These molds were then incorporated into construction drawings for bid and fabrication. Any missing moldings or paint colors were acquired from the historic archives by the preservation consultant. Sixty-nine paint colors and over 5,000 stencils were used to bring back the historic splendor of the interior.

Project Awards

Project Excellence Award
Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award
National Preservation Honor Award
Restoration Project of the Year