AIA Contract Documents Help Scharly Designer Studio Secure the Opportunity of a Lifetime

About Scharly Designer Studio

Scharly Design Studio is an award-winning architectural firm in Brooklyn, New York. They’ve gained an extensive client list due to their flexible and diverse range of work in New Construction and Architectural Renovation. Their work includes engaging designs for residential and commercial buildings, exhibits, and cultural institutions.


“Restoring one of the most sacred destinations in one of the greatest cities in the world is an opportunity my firm will always cherish.”–


Synagogues are revered places of worship and one of the most critical elements of the Judaism faith. Each year believers flow through their doors and halls, nurturing one another, building community, and growing in faith. New York City is home to the largest Jewish population in the world, with a number that hovers just above 2 million. Synagogues are a central part of their lives: lives that came to a screeching halt in 2012 due to the immense power of Hurricane Sandy.

Sandy was a storm for the ages that far exceeded the initial warnings. When paired with the largest metropolis in the country, it became perfection with sustained winds of over 80 mph and record-setting surges that left an unprecedented trail of destruction on homes, businesses, and an assortment of structures including the nation’s most prestigious synagogue – The Brighton Beach Jewish Center.

Storm of the Century

Hurricane Sandy was a different breed of weather phenomenon, the likes of which are rarely seen. While storms like Andrew, Maria, and Katrina packed winds that far exceeded those felt during Sandy, the unique structure of the storm allowed it to author such a large path of destruction. The tropical winds that fueled Sandy extended well over 1,000 miles, three times the reach of those storms mentioned above. This reach, coupled with the storm’s unique angle and landing point, meant no structure was safe, as evidenced by the 300,000 homes and 23,000 businesses that sustained significant loss. “It was truly the storm of a lifetime and one that caused a great deal of reflection in the design community.”   

“A structure that means so much to the global Jewish community warranted world-class attention, and we’re committed to delivering nothing less.”

New and Improved

Upon being chosen, Scharly and his team understood the magnitude of what they were embarking upon. “Our goal is not to just deliver the same building back to the community. No, the vision that we have is to create a space that is more functional than it was before while offering recognizable value to the area.” That vision includes making the synagogue a net zero building that uses clean, renewable resources to generate energy through the installation of solar panels across the roof. The roof will also have a space designated for vegetation and gardening to help further reduce the carbon footprint.

“We approached the project with a mindset that by improving the structure, we were honoring the spirit and dignity of what it had come to represent.”

Looking Forward

At the end of every storm, there’s a rainbow, shining a light on something beautiful that was hidden until that point. The rainbow at the end of Sandy was realizing that the synagogue held so much more potential than what had been used in the past. The design Scharly is bringing to fruition includes a co-working area and space for homeless residents during inclement weather. Residential spaces are also being planned on the plot of previously unused land next to the synagogue. “Our goal is to maximize the space and increase the center’s impact exponentially, both now and well into the future.”

The Brighton Beach Project is scheduled to be completed by the Spring of 2027 and none of the work Scharly Designer Studio has done thus far would’ve been possible without the presence of AIA Contract Documents. “They’re a staple in our toolkit and we wouldn’t think of going to work without one in place to govern and guide the project.”