1901 Ocean Parkway Brooklyn, NY


Sephardic Community Center

The new 100,000 sf Sephardic Community Center on Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn, NY is a transformative expansion of its 30-year old original facility, symbolic of the central role it now plays in the surrounding neighborhood as an inter-generational facility. BKSK’s design expands upon the first Center’s stated mission to “preserve and nurture the rich history and culture of the Sephardic Community,” and offers coherence to their ever-widening program of educational, athletic and social services, and above all it extends a legible, clear invitation to all for participation in community events.

The new facility houses a sports and fitness complex, early childhood center, specialized teen, adult and senior lounges, administrative offices and meeting spaces. The new facades infuse light into interior spaces and gracefully weaves an institutionally-scaled structure (gymnasium, preschool and community room) into the residential urban fabric. An emphasis on spatial legibility extends a sense of welcoming order to the multi-story Heritage Hall entry lobby, from which the full range of activities becomes evident. The community’s shared lineage has become a true centerpiece of the lobby, with hundreds of ancestral images sandwiched between layers of glass.


Center for Active Design, Active Design Excellence Awards, 2014


“Assembly: Civic Design Guidelines,” Center for Active Design, July 2018

“Finding Synergy: Collaborating & Combining Functions in Multipurpose Designs,” Recreation Management, May 2015

“Four award-winning buildings that nudge people to live healthier lives,” Fast Company, May 2014

“Parachuting into a world: Creating Jewish architecture,” The Jewish Press, January 2011

“BKSK makes good connections in south Brooklyn,” The Architect's Newspaper (print & online), November 2010

“BKSK Architects transformative addition to the Sephardic Community Center in Brooklyn,” ArchDaily, October 2010

E.W. Howell – general contractor; Weidlinger Associates – structural; Lilker Associates Consulting Engineers – MEP; Michael Wein – civil; H.M. White Site Architects – landscape; Horton Lees Brogden – lighting design; Israel Berger & Associates – exterior envelope consultant; Shen, Milsom & Wilke – acoustics; Poulin & Morris – graphics and way-finding design

Photos by Jonathan Wallen

"Emerging from the bulky tan and textured concrete Sephardic Community Center in south Brooklyn is a modest new light-filled expansion. With it, BKSK Architects has shown a 30-year-old center of Syrian and Middle Eastern Jewish history and culture a way to be a bit more extroverted and inviting to the neighborhood of brick homes and apartment buildings on Ocean Parkway."

Jim Wegener for The Architect’s Newspaper