Roger Bartels Architects (RBA) was founded as a Design Oriented Studio in 1974. Our Firm believes that practicing Architecture as a performing art leads to client satisfaction.
Since its location in 1979 in Connecticut it has developed a premier reputation as the creator of exceptional waterfront residences.
&Ia=Roger Bartels, AIA, Partner
Roger Bartels founded his firm in 1974 in Garrison, New York and moved to Westport, CT in 1979. Since 1996, the firm has occupied a spacious loft it created overlooking the waterfront in the historic district of SouthNorwalk, CT.
In studying such masters of architecture as Andrea Palladio, CFA Voysey, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Stanford White, Mr. Bartels refined his own ideas of "white space" and spatial flow, and learned "all that is best about the English Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau." His design talents are rooted in a truly New England tradition, namely the important American Shingle Style. This stylistic archetype places Mr. Bartels' work alongside the waterfront work of William Emerson, Peabody and Stearn, Bruce Price and McKim Mead and White in the early Twentieth century.
Extensive travel, too, has inspired his work, and helped imbue each house with a distinctive quality of design, elegance, and contextual aesthetic that is unmistakable. Most of Mr. Bartels' projects have been located on the shoreline, and their designs have taken full advantage of the waterside life, the view, the beauty of the changing seasons and the constant proximity to the outdoors.
A native of Frank Lloyd Wright's Oak Park, Illinois, Roger has always shared the Mater's total commitment to great architecture.
Master of Architecture
Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
&Ib=Christopher Pagliaro, AIA, Partner
Chris Pagliaro's broad experience in architecture extends from designing large custom homes and small residential additions to managing crucial project administration issues: budgets, construction drawings, bidding and negotiation of construction contracts. "The Owner and I have the same goals" Chris says. "We both want a wonderful architectural collaboration, and we both want on-time and on-budget delivery. My ability to achieve these goals is shown in the warm personal relationships I have developed with so many clients."
It is in design that Chris' passion for architecture is fully realized. "My heart and soul are in every aspect of every project," Chris says, "from broad composition to small detail." He understands that architecture can serve multiple functions - everyday living, entertaining, office space - and he focuses on bringing into reality clients' varied dreams for their project.
Chris shares the firm's philosophy of design: truly successful works are compatible with the site on which they are located. He designs carefully to make the most of the views and the daylight the site offers, to allow the beauty of the surroundings to enhance the lives of the occupants. He is also an experienced, licensed interior designer, and his knowledge of materials and techniques have made him a vital resource during the owner's interior design selection process.
Prior to joining Roger Bartels Architects in 1998, Chris was a partner at Tristyle Architecture and Construction Management, a subsidiary of Joseph Crocco Architects in Westchester. Through his work at Tristyle, he developed a solid understanding of construction and of the best practices of construction management. Chris has designed custom homes, restaurants, corporate space and retail centers of several hundred thousand square feet. Throughout his career, he has provided vital municipal approval, construction management and consultant coordination expertise.
Architectural Registration, New York
Designer Registration, Connecticut
Catholic University of America:
&Ic=Nicholas A. Sajda, Staff Architect
Nick Sajda is an exceptional designer of complete projects; his particular focus is the architectural detailing that contributes a sense of distinction and refinement. Examples of these details are custom fireplace surrounds, the small newel post cap or cabinetry that suits a variety of uses - from library to kitchen to mudroom. “Clients have unique ideas about the areas they want and the feeling they are trying to achieve. I love the challenge of balancing the different design elements - spatial flow, light, proper scale and materials - with client's goals to achieve the customized home of their dreams," Nice says “and of perfecting each detail to really finish the project."
Nick's expertise in architecture is truly instinctive: he knew he wanted to be an architect at the age of 12, when he was building models. He also spent some time working for a contractor, collaborating with clients on the wish-lists for their new homes, defining ideal spatial flow to fit their needs. Nick has been with RBA since 1992, when, recognizing Nick's superior skills in a design course he was teaching, Roger Bartels specifically invited Nick come to work for him. As a protégé of Roger Bartels, Nick has led the design teams of the more complex and ambitious projects.
In the course of each project, Nick accommodates various situations in a client's life in the design. For one client, he provided indestructible window sills and tempered glass windows to manage an over-enthusiastic dog; the result was an animal with a view and a happy homeowner. Similar situations would include a collector who needs unique cabinetry and special lighting, a gourmet chef with personal ideas of the right kitchen, or an oenophile with exacting wine-cellar requirements. According to Nick, the fun is in the designing and in using design to solve various problems or accommodate special interests.
Pratt Institute School of Architecture:
Bachelor of Architecture
Summa Cum laude
Circle Award of Excellence for Outstanding, Achievement
Presidential Scholarship Award
&Id=Melissa Gelman, Staff Architect
A member of the RBA team since 1998, Melissa Gelman's passion in architecture stems from seeing her designs come to life as tangible products. Her projects have included many new houses, however, most of her undertakings have been in renovations, which are somewhat more difficult because of the need to meld new design with existing conditions. She especially enjoys paying attention to the finer details, which make every project unique to the client. She likes designing in natural wood and appreciates the “warm, homey feeling" of grained wood and timber-framed houses.
Melissa's interest in design goes back to age 7, when she was fascinated by floor plans in general. She began studying architecture in high school, where she won a local design competition. During her college years, Melissa worked as an intern for a semester at Burt Hill Kosar Rittlemann Associates, working mainly in the firm's health care department, focusing on designing hospitals and laboratories. While still in school, she also worked with SR+T (Sislian, Rothstein Architects), where she assisted in the design process of a private residence as well as helping in it's construction. She also spent several months abroad in Rensselaer-sponsored study programs in Rome and Turkey. While overseas she studied not only the local architecture, but the culture as well and how the two relate to each other. She has used this experience to help her ensure that her designs reflect both the personal and cultural influences which help to make each project unique.
Melissa appreciates all facets of the design process and does not have a favorite space to design; it varies from project to project. She believes that the individual design details of each component help to contribute to the success of the overall project.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute:
Bachelor of Architecture
Bachelor of Science, Building Science
Scholar/Athlete Award Competition
&Ie=Christopher Harrigan, Staff Architect
Chris Harrigan, who joined RBA in 1999, is enthusiastic about creating brand new structures from ideas. He has a particular strength in truly listening to clients as they describe the features they would like in a home, and then using his architectural expertise to translate those ideas into designed-in features. This client orientation is a key to client satisfaction at RBA.
Chris began his architectural career at Joseph Crocco Architects, where he worked for corporate and commercial as well as residential clients. Earlier, he spent a college internship at Architecture for Health, Science and Commerce, where he was the assistant to the Chief Designer. As a member of the RBA team, he designs complete homes and is an expert on the architectural details of any area; his favorite areas are libraries, great rooms and dining areas. Chris' understanding of built-ins and how they can enhance the life-style comes to the fore especially in these rooms.
In one recent renovation, Chris converted an existing sunroom into a new library. Chris incorporated into the design of the built-ins a place to display one of the client's pieces of sculpture. The result provided not only a focal point of the library, but also drew the viewers attention to the views beyond from the family room.
Originally a devotee of the Frank Lloyd Wright approach to home design, Chris appreciates the RBA style of architecture that is in effect an abstraction of classic design, incorporating past ideas into a modern setting. It is this idea in home design - the thoughtful melding of the classic and the modern - that he believes should be the backdrop for the life-style of the twenty-first century.
Roger Bartels' guiding principle of residential architecture is that all houses - those structures in which we create our homes and live our private lives - should enhance, as well as, reflect our lifestyle and be in complete context with the environment. We bring the idea of Gesamtkunstwerk (Total Work of Art) to each project.
Our philosophy is simple: each home we design will be exceptionally livable. We achieve this goal by applying the key concepts of Place, Space, Light, Scale, and appropriate Materials to every design.
Hallmark of a RBA Project is the marriage of building and site to create a place. A place must embrace its views. Whether it overlooks the water or a garden, the views are an essential part of where you live. Brought inside through an abundance of openings, views are integrated into the design and often are emphasized by minimized architectural interiors that harmonize rather than compete with the show outside.
A well-organized spatial flow is the primary contribution of Modernism. Spatial flow is the sensibility with which one space opens to the next, creating an elegant open plan. With living areas defined by columns and archways, the house becomes an open and airy sanctuary.
“Architecture is the play of light on form." A home from the RBA Studio deliberately takes best advantage of the effect of sunlight on structures and views. New or renovated homes are carefully styled with numerous windows to maximize the daylight and the views available from the living spaces. The light affects and is affected by the spatial flow. Each accentuates the other, enticing you into the space and conveying a sense of grandness, confidence and optimism, a sense of life's possibilities.
The impact of scale is subtle yet profound. Interior details such as moldings, panel work and cabinetry bring harmony and balance to a home when correctly proportioned. The open floor plan demands awareness of the relationship of one area to another and a vigilance of scale as it pertains to the entire plan. Manipulating scale needs a talented architect with experience.
The skillful use of materials is crucial. The Studio favors light-giving materials that echo the distinctive characteristics of the site. RBA's popular waterside Shingle Style homes are a perfect example of this principle. Shingle cladding is the perfect material to ward off waterfront storms and enhance the color and texture of the seaside environment. This union of site and house makes a Roger Bartels structure not just a dwelling but a place at peace with itself, a place that imparts a contentment of its own.
The Firm now occupies a spacious loft it created in 1996 overlooking the waterfront in the historic district of SouthNorwalk, Connecticut.
It is here that Mr. Bartels, his Partner Christopher Pagliaro and their exceptional staff of architects make Architecture.
The full complement of services offered by RBA addresses every part of your project, from the “what-if" dream stage to follow-ups well after move-in day. Phasing divides the project into milestones and allows you to stay up-to-date on our progress.
After determining the scope and feasibility of your project, studying the relevant regulatory information and discussing your dream house, RBA will develop preliminary and final designs and determine the budget.
II. Construction Drawings
Construction drawings describe the project in detail; they are instructions on what to build and how to build it. These documents are used for bidding and obtaining building permits.
III. Negotiating and Contracts
RBA will be with you every step of the way in obtaining bids from, and ultimately hiring, the contractors for implementing the project. In addition to developing the packet needed to solicit proposals, we will help you interview, select the right contractor for your project, negotiate and prepare the Owner/Contractor Agreement.
IV. Construction Monitoring
RBA visits each job site frequently to assure that your job is being built out according to plan, and with the quality of workmanship you expect. Any change requests or errors in construction are addressed in this phase.
&IIIb=Value Added Services
RBA offers additional services that augment our standard design work. Our complete knowledge of your project means informed support, and will erase the need to hire and educate additional professionals.
At your request, we will provide site design, landscaping and interior design services to help put the finishing touches on your home. We can also provide three dimensional models, and a charming artistic rendering of the home for you to display.
In addition, our experts will manage the process for obtaining approvals and permits from local authorities, including appearances at public hearings or boards (such authorities might include P<&>Z, Coastal Area Management groups, wetlands commissions, etc.).
AIA Connecticut 1st Place 2001
Greenwich Board of Architectural Review
Town of Fairfield
House and Garden
Fairfield Country Magazine
New York Times
Country Living (UK)
The Greater Perfection
Merry Go Round and Pavilion
Bear Mountain State Park
Bear Mountain, New York
Roger Bartels Architects LLC
South Norwalk, Connecticut
Commentary, The Jury, American Institute of Architects, Connecticut, 1st Award
A project in a category of its own with an ebullient crafting of geometry, form, and space. An unforgettable image - fun, theatrical, and an amazing blend of Louis Kahn plan with Park Service imagery. Wonderful, wacky, playful, and evocative of the Adirondack style of architecture - one of the most unique things we've seen.
Commentary, Arthur Gunther, The Journal News, Dec. 4, 2001
If I get to come back in another life, I want to be an architect.
Mine is a lifelong compassion for the right mix of horizontal and vertical lines and angles that blend harmony with nature, the right materials and the correct setting to produce “God in the details." Like great literature, there is great architecture, but so precious little of it. We have various schools with their brilliant crafters, such as Frank Lloyd Wright or Stanford White or a variety of geniuses in every culture worldwide - today, 100 years ago, thousands of years past.
Such architecture is like the best marriage: harmony, with obvious differences but so balanced as to bring not only livability and endurance but longevity and renewed, even surprise, celebration.
I saw such architecture recently at Bear Mountain, on the great plain where the old New York Giants once practiced and on which countless cross-country races have begun.
Now standing in great glory, next to the decades-old stone police station and on a mall facing the great Inn, is the Bear Mountain Merry-Go-Round and Pavilion, a $3 million carousel and gathering place that was made possible by a donation from the Perkins family.
Its wonderful Adirondack style was created by Roger Bartels Architects of South Norwalk, Conn., and it surely fits Bear Mountain's designs. Its stone and wood exterior leads to a vaulted interior with rustic lanterns and large picture windows that open in good weather. In addition to the ride, the pavilion also includes a sunken fireplace area, a snack bar, restrooms and an oil painting called “Hope, the Bear Mountain Mural" by Jacques Bartels. The pavilion architect was not alive when the original Bear Mountain buildings went up just before World War I, but he must be a reincarnate of the first designers. The carousel has the soul of the Bear Mountain Inn gathering room, that huge area with super-large fireplace just before the old dining room. With its timbers, bear figures and stone, both the inn area and the carousel bring you immediate mental relaxation. Rocklanders have a special affinity for the Bear Mountain Inn, since it is the inn. Now, we can also take in the great carousel. It is just magnificent. God is in all the details.
The four square motif or logo has been recognized as RBA's trademark. We use it as a scale device and it is hardly original but has a fine pedigree. You'll see it in the works of the Vienna Seccession, the Italian Liberty Style, The German Jugendstil, the English and American Arts and Crafts Movements, the Prairie Style and most poetically in the masterpieces of Scot, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. It is a symbol of the Geometric Art Nouveau.
Nick Sajda at RBA tries to sneak the four squares onto every achitectural detail known to man with considerable success. It drives us crazy.
Over the years RBA has developed some architectural details that are unique to the field. Among these are the flush paneled doors with vertical grooves and tiny square lites to replace the ubiquitous Colonial 6 panel door.
Many of these items are first tried out in our own homes and then find their way onto client's wish list.
Most prominent of these are the steel lighting fixtures and light cages incorporating back lit marbles. The marbles are supplied free complements of Roger Bartels Architects.