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A synagogue is a place of worship, a common space for reflection and communication for members of the congregation. Every synagogue features a series of core areas—a large prayer area, study rooms, and social event halls and offices. These components are all important as the building is not only for praying; it also acts as a shared space. Some famous synagogues include the Congregation Shearith Israel in New York—the oldest synagogue in America—and the Belz Great Synagogue in Jerusalem, Israel, the largest synagogue in the world.
The following firms are some of the best synagogue builders in the country. We constructed this list after extensive research, taking into account key factors such as company history, portfolio quality, the relevance of awards, client reviews, and each firm’s backgrounds of principals. Religious structures require a specific set of rules when it comes to building and design. Respect for the history and tradition—as well as the community—should be strictly observed to honor the sacred principles of a rich religous tradition thousands of years in the making.
Bulley & Andrews
1755 West Armitage Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622
Bulley & Andrews is a pioneer in the religious category—its Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation Synagogue project is the first worship building that received the LEED Platinum certification in 2008. With 32 LEED accredited professionals on its roster, sustainable building is at the core of this firm’s environmentally-conscious work. The company’s industry existence includes over 125 years, a testament to the quality construction provided in the field. Among the services offered are new construction, preconstruction, design-build, and masonry and concrete restoration. Bulley & Andrews’ consistent ranking on the ENR’s annual Top 400 is reflective of its work, which resulted in 70% repeat employees throughout the years.
Most recently, the firm completed the Beth Emet The Free Synagogue renovation. The project was completed in collaboration with Kliment Halsband Architects. Renovation of the 22,000 square feet property included interior improvements on its East Side section. The worship space was made more accessible for patrons through better facilities, updated lighting, sound, and installation of an assisted listening system.
84 Winchester Street, Newton, MA 02461
Chapman Construction/Design is deeply committed to quality work and top-notch service. Forging long-term relationships with clients is one of its core components: the firm wants to create bonds that lead to consistent repeat clients for the firm. The LEED-accredited president Ben Tucker is a well-decorated principal with several industry certifications and green building awards to his name. His company’s portfolio showcases versatility, including cafes, corporate buildings, data centers, and fitness facilities.
Temple Shalom Newton is a project completed by Chapman Construction/Design with BKA Architects, Inc. The firm rendered full gut and renovation services to the structure, doling out improvements to its sanctuary, social hall, and entry façade. The interior’s wide layout was designed to be more inclusive for members of the community, embracing the sanctuary’s philosophy. A new Torah Ark was installed with custom curved stained-glass sliding doors and the ceiling beams were lined with recessed LED lighting, illuminating the interiors with a warm glow.
12231 Parklawn Drive, Rockville, MD 20852
Forrester Construction is a national building powerhouse. Its resume speaks for itself: over 282 industry awards, 70 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certified projects, and 22 National Excellence in Construction Awards from the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) organization. Add that to its mainstream features in Engineering News-Record (ENR), Architect Magazine, and Washington Business Journal, and you’ve got a firm with stellar industry prominence. Its portfolio reflects its status—a diverse lot of projects in the commercial, cultural, educational sectors, among others.
The Kol Shalom Synagogue was built in collaboration with Shinberg Levinas Architects. The two-story building covers a 20,000 square feet property in Rockville, Maryland. An insulation and finishing system, as well as custom-patterned masonry and Venetian plaster entrance, were installed in the building’s exterior. A 24 well geothermal system for efficient heating and cooling was also installed in the building. The synagogue earned a LEED Gold Certification for its green building process.
Harvey | Harvey-Cleary Builders
3663 Briarpark, Suite 101, Houston, TX 77042
Harvey-Cleary Builders is a firm that constructs buildings as strong as the bonds in builds with people. In 1957, the full-service general contractor was established by David E. Harvey Sr. and Gerald D. Hines, whose projects centered around commercial and retail markets. The firm is currently led by David Harvey, Jr. and Joseph A. Cleary Jr., who serve as Co-Chairmen of the Board, and Kelly M. Hall, the company’s CEO. The new principals continue to deliver top-grade projects to clients in Houston, San Antonio, Austin, and Washington, D.C, all while building on the legacy of the firm’s co-founders.
Congregation Beth Israel required the help of Harvey-Cleary Builders for the construction and renovation of their building. Built with Kirksey Architects, the project includes a new addition of 30,000 square feet and a 90,000 square feet renovation. Improvements for the sanctuary involved new anigre wood panels, seating refurbishment, and better lighting. The ground-up build also includes new offices, classrooms, and a library. A SOD-seat assembly hall was also built, which featured specialized ceiling panels and acoustical walls for optimal sound control.
116 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA 02446
Established in 1976, Kaplan Construction is a second generation family-owned business that puts emphasis on customer service to achieve not only quality building but also build long-lasting client bonds. Jane Kaplan Peck and Nathan Peck serve as co-owners of the Women Business Enterprise (WBE), a partnership that leads a talented roster of specialists committed to building excellence. The general contractor’s wide range of services includes construction management, pre-construction planning, and design-build services.
The Congregation Kehillath Israel is a project completed in partnership with architecture firm Handlin, Garrahan, and Associates and owner’s representative firm WaypointKLA. The structural reconstruction included a full restoration of the brick and stone facade and the century-old Spanish tile roof as well as the restoration of the stained glass windows and the main sanctuary staircase. The significant renovation was recognized by industry organizations in 2019, earning the Associated Builders and Contractors of Massachusetts’s (ABC MA) Eagle Award for Historical Restorations/Renovations over $1 million and the national ABC’s Pyramid Award for Historical Restorations/Renovations up to $25 million.
Kaufman Lynn Construction
3185 South Congress Ave., Delray Beach, FL 33445
Kaufman Lynn Construction is fueled by a client-first approach that prioritizes customer satisfaction above all else. Founder Michael Kaufman started the company in 1989, his passion for the industry is the major driving force of the firm. The full-service construction company employs 247 experts that share the same philosophy, each one committed to providing top-notch construction and service in Florida, Texas, and North Carolina.
The Temple Beth Sholom is a Miami-based project that consisted of demolition, renovation, and new construction. The 20,393 square feet property was handled by Kaufman Lynn Construction in partnership with Zyscovich Architects. The main goal was to construct a new building in between two other temples without hindering traffic flow. New structures include a chapel, youth center, and welcome center, as well as 19 additional parking spaces. The temple’s executive director commended the firm’s work quality, timeliness, and efficiency during the project building process.
Krusinski Construction Company
2107 Swift Drive, Oak Brook, IL 60523
Krusinski Construction Company is a construction and design firm with a nationwide scope. Led by founder Joseph Krusinski, the versatile builder works on buildings in the corporate, hospitality, industrial, recreational sectors, and more. Complex projects are met with creative and innovative solutions, a feat that has elevated to being recognized as one of the best in Illinois.
The temple for the Congregation B’Nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim is a project finished with Finegold Alexander + Associates. The two-phase project includes three single-story office buildings, converted for religious and recreational purposes. The first phase included several new facilities: a sanctuary, a village community center, a social hall, administrative support offices, and a full-service kitchen. The second phase centers on an educational wing that involves a classroom and a library. The new sanctuary features seats 600, includes cascading stairs and seating, a balcony, and a worship area. The village community center is ideal for group gatherings, special events, and providing space for reflection.
9814 Norwalk Boulevard, Suite 100, Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
MATT Construction is an acclaimed builder defined by its high-quality work. Reviews for the firm praise the lengths the MATT team goes to complete projects efficiently. CEO and chairman Steve Matt is a LEED Accredited Professional involved with several industry associations ranging from the AIA to the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California (SEAOSC). His dedication to his craft stands out even among his team, whose consistent quality work has earned the firm AIA Los Angeles’ Building Team of the Year Award for two consecutive years.
The Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue is a facility built by MATT Construction in conjunction with Ed Niles Architects. The 15,000 square feet sanctuary features an indoor/outdoor complex made of modern glass and glulam framing wood design. The building provides a 250-person seating capacity with doors that open to an outdoor amphitheater that can accommodate 400 guests. A glass roof allows natural light during the daytime and contemplative view of the heavens at night.
2737 Fairview Ave N., Saint Paul, MN 55113
McGough Construction is defined by decades of stellar projects and a commitment to collaborative partnerships. The company prioritizes client bonds as strongly as it does construction, a perfect balance shared by the most successful builders. Tom McGough Jr. leads a team of diverse and talented experts who work efficiently to build exceptional structures, earning them a reputation for great workmanship and creative solutions. Its mainstream prominence has led to publication features in the New York Business Journal, Detroit Lakes Tribune, and Finance and Commerce, among others.
The Temple Israel pictured is a worship-based project completed in partnership with James Dayton Design. Located in Minneapolis, the synagogue required several upgrades and additions. A 59,000 square feet project was also completed, which includes mechanical and electrical system upgrades, exterior entrance façade upgrades, exterior building lighting, sanctuary renovations, and an attic space code upgrade. Additions to the school wing, auditorium, and office spaces were also completed.
225 Newfield Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106
Newfield Construction is a private company led by Damien Davis, who leads a team of industry experts that achieves optimal output through an innovative building and design approach. The family-owned business has earned a reputation as a reliable builder and a consistent partner throughout all phases of a project. Aside from construction, philanthropic efforts are also a major component of the business. Newfield actively supports the Architecture Construction Engineering (ACE) Mentor Program, which partners up high school students with accredited professionals to teach them the basics of the industry through a hands-on approach.
The featured structure is the Kol Haverim Synagogue located in Glastonbury. The congregation in Glastonbury tapped Newfield to build a new 9,000 square feet structure for its temple. The original sanctuary was retrofitted to cater to the synagogue’s academic programs. The existing space was modified for education, sanctuary, offices, and child care facilities. Renovations and improvements were also completed to expand the space and accommodate the growing congregation.
Oliver and Company
1300 South 51st Street, Richmond, CA 94804
Oliver and Company’s portfolio showcases over 2,000 buildings in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was established in 1946 and offers core services of construction, management, and development. Firm president Steven H. Oliver is an industry veteran with vast knowledge in the field. Under the guidance of Steven and his son, co-CEO Josh Oliver, the company has earned industry-wide recognition on both local and national levels. Notable accolades include the 2016 Honor Award from AIA San Francisco, the 2016 Mayor’s Award of Excellence, and the 2015 Award for Historic Rehabilitation and Restoration from the Palo Alto Stanford Heritage Commercial Rehabilitation Awards.
The Temple Sinai in Oakland was completed in 2010 by Oliver and Company, with Michael Harris and Mark Horton of MH2 studio on the architectural details. The modern exterior aesthetic conveys a minimalist design; its interiors offer a welcoming ambiance for the worshipping community. Aside from synagogues, Oliver and Company’s portfolio includes commercial, interiors, industrial, schools, and housing.
Shawmut Design and Construction
560 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA 02118
Shawmut Design and Construction has produced stellar structures throughout its time in the industry. A combination of great building and positive service forms the backbone of the company, a formula that has led to features in ENR, Building Design + Construction, and New England Real Estate Journal. The bustling enterprise is helmed by Les Hiscoe, who is a member of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable and an active member of the board of directors for various New York building associations. His employee-owned company has a wide array of projects in different markets, including academic, commercial, healthcare, and hospitality. Shawmut has expanded its reach and currently has management offices in Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York.
The featured building is the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island. The sanctuary is a structural stalwart that provides a space for worship for locals in the area and is deemed a protected site by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The Beck Group
1601 Elm Street, Suite 2800, Dallas, TX 75201
The Beck Group is built on the foundation of teamwork, as the company not only thrives through in-team collaboration but on solid client partnerships. Firm CEO Fred Perpall uses a number of efficient building methods to run his firm, successfully integrating contemporary methods to achieve effective results. His team’s outstanding efforts have earned recognition from the LEED, AIA, and International Interior Design Association (IIDA). On the religious architecture front, the firm has received the Faith and Form Award from The Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art, and Architecture (IFRAA) for its great worship-based construction.
The Temple Emanu-El is a project constructed by Beck Group in partnership with Cunningham Architects studio. The Dallas-based structure is over 55 years old and it required several fortifications and structural improvements. 35,000 square feet of new construction, as well as key renovations, were added on to the original. The new facilities included a worship space, an educational wing, and a second-level addition to the office and the administration wing.
400 Maryland Ave., Easton, MD 21601
Willow Construction is a Maryland construction firm that ranks among the top builders in the area. Under Mike Hiner’s leadership, the company has earned many accolades over the years, including consecutive ABC Excellence in Construction Awards and STEP Awards from 2016 to 2018. Core values of integrity, quality, and experience shape the firm’s business model, principles that helped catapult the company to local acclaim and prominence.
The new Temple B’nai Israel is a 9,532 square feet structure constructed over the course of 10 months. The sanctuary caters to Jewish communities in Kent, Caroline, Talbot, Dorchester, and Queen Anne’s counties. Three classrooms, a conference room, offices, a kitchen, and other amenities were added to the building. Cultural art is showcased in the main corridor, and Lutron lighting systems were installed in the temple. The new communal space can accommodate weddings, ceremonies, and special events, and provides seating for up to 280 people. The firm also built a 3,000 square feet brick patio and cupola.
Wohlsen Construction Company
1295 Manheim Pike, Lancaster, PA 17601
Over 130 years of exceptional work have cemented the legacy of Wohlsen Construction as an elite builder in the region. Gary Langmuir’s 40-year tenure as head of the company is vital to its continued longevity, and his impact is observable in every project completed by the firm. Rave reviews from former clients praise not only Wohlsen’s outstanding work but also the expertise and character showcased by its craftspeople, which is reflective of the whole company’s character.
The Temple Adath Israel is a synagogue project completed in collaboration with Atkin Olshin Schade Architects. The worship building is a 69,000 square feet project located in Montgomery County and was completed in a single month. Demolition of several areas was provided prior to the two-tiered synagogue’s renovation. New ark installation, extensive millwork, carpet installation, custom tiled glass walls, and custom light fixtures were all included in this impressive project. The interior’s simple, elegant design is welcoming and warm, and the circular layout fosters a sense of community. The structure has received the Award of Merit from ABC’s Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter.