The educational institution, Oholei Torah, is a yeshiva for male students in the Chabad-Lubavitch Movement, drawing students from around the world, with a strong emphasis on the teachings of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.

The original building housing the yeshiva dates back to c. 1900 and is a fine example of Neo-Classical New York architecture. The building has remained largely intact, even though it has undergone several renovations, some of which were not especially sensitive to the aesthetic or historical value of the building.

Elena Kalman, AIA, was honored to design a renovation to the existing banquet hall, add a new area to the central assembly space of the building and design renovations to the lobby, the dining room and other public areas.

Elena began the project by removing all of the non-historic elements of the structure, including the suspended ceilings, partitions that blocked the existing historic windows, fluorescent lighting fixtures and the linoleum that covered the original wood flooring.

The renovated space was completed in a classical blue-green, gold and cream color scheme inspired by Robert Adam; the restored moldings were finished with gold leaf; a faux-marble finish on the columns was preserved and patched; the wood flooring was refinished and new custom-made chandeliers grace the public spaces. The new portion of the banquet hall is seamlessly integrated with the old; the new décor was kept in a style similar to the existing portion of the hall.