What we do
With over three decades in the industry, we have been part of the restoration of some of New York City's beautiful landmarks, a testament to our commitment to preserving our cultural patrimony. Many of our clients also want their new projects rooted in tradition while seamlessly integrating contemporary innovations. Not only will this blend of old and new give a sense of permanence and beauty, but it will also add richness and meaning to the present.  This New Traditional Architecture has led to our involvement in projects ranging from historic churches to apartments and houses, each echoing legendary tales while looking toward the future. 

Why hire us?
Our past clients have stated that:
1-Our smaller firm size enabled us to give them focused attention, not only during meetings but also, throughout the entire process.
2- We have a deep working knowledge of authentic traditional architecture, which enabled them to work and live in the type of places they enjoy.
3- We creatively incorporated innovation while keeping the traditional aesthetic that they wanted. 
4- We helped them to preserve and enhance the character of the neighborhood or building that they love so much.
5- We are well-versed in the process of working with Landmarks and Historical Commissions and guided them to obtain the approvals that they sought with efficiency. 

How do we do it?
We follow a well-defined process that starts with listening to your dreams or issues, understanding your preferences for how you want to live or work, and dovetailing the design to your existing building or community.
The initial step of our process entails “research and discovery” to ascertain any legal, zoning, covenant restrictions, building, or landmark code issues which may affect the design. During this time, you will also share your ideas or images which you want us to consider. We will then prepare sketches and schematic drawings to illustrate our ideas and together we will arrive at your preferred option.
During our second step, we develop the design in detail and coordinate all its aspects with the engineers (including structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineers), as well as with specialty consultants such as the decorator, audio-visual, acoustician, exterior envelope or civil engineer. We will also engage in the important dialog with the Landmark and Building agencies to make sure your project will be approvable.
Our third step is to produce the construction documents. These are the drawn and written instructions to the builder. These documents can be used to procure bids, and to obtain a building permit from the Department of Buildings.
During our fourth step, we will help you select an experienced and honest builder.
During our fifth and final step, we will observe the progress of construction at pre-determined intervals to ascertain that the project is being built in accordance with the design which you approved and obtained estimates for.

What services do we provide?
We provide basic services and specialty services. Basic services follow the process outlined above to design new or renovate: single-family houses, townhouses, apartments, churches, and adaptive reuse projects.
For our specialty services, we are typically engaged early on before you buy the land, apartment or building you are planning to renovate or build anew.  Such pre-design services include planning, site selection, programming, space utilization, and feasibility studies.

What is your next step?
Call us for a free consultation at 917-292-2131. You may also email us at: manuel@mergalarchitecture.com, with your inquiries.  We will respond ASAP.
About Me

I grew up in San Juan, a traditional city in Puerto Rico. Its narrow streets protect from the intense sun, change occurs slowly and always refers to the local building tradition. Buildings are built for the ages, of durable and functional materials that perform well in the local climate.  One can reach virtually any destination on foot. Today, we call this sustainability, but in San Juan this way of building and living has been around for over four centuries. 

Prior to establishing my office, I worked for 14 years with Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer, designing many building types such as: restaurants (the Rainbow Room and Windows on the World - both in New York City), and theaters (The Wilma in Philadelphia and The Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts in Harrisburg). I honed my skills in Classical Architecture working 4 years with Ferguson Shamamian, and 10 years with Cooper Robertson & Partners (7 as a partner) on various houses and small traditional buildings. My projects have been published in Architectural Record, Period Homes and Traditional Building. I have contributed articles for various publications including: The Classicist, Stone World, and Construction News

"I have had many great mentors during my development as an architect. If I had to choose only 2,
I would have to mention Hugh Hardy and Jaque Robertson. Hugh’s joy was contagious and he always inspired us to celebrate the clients’ wishes by designing buildings and interiors with exuberant joy and an expressive use of materials and forms. Jaque approached any commission, whether large or small, by lovingly focusing on every detail from the point of view of the end user and never his own ego".

I have taught in the Interior Design Department at FIT and been a guest critic at CUNY's Architecture School and a guest lecturer at NYU's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. I also lectured at several Traditional Building Conferences and taught a professional seminar at the Institute for Classical Architecture & Art.  I am the recipient of the first prize for the first Hispanic Architectural Talent Search Competition. I am also on the Smithsonian Institution's Latino, Hispanic, and Latin American Art Collection and a member of the American Institute of Architects, the Congress for New Urbanism and a Fellow Emeritus of the Institute for Classical Architecture & Art. I am licensed in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut and a member of the NCARB. I graduated with a first Master's in Architecture from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a second Master's in Urban Design from Columbia University.
Back to Top