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Architectural Intelligence

Written by Lisa Simek

Long Beach Island is often regarded as a sanctuary from the modern day’s hustle and bustle; upon setting foot on the island, beachgoers generally enjoy slowing their pace, unwinding, and even unplugging. While giving gadgets the cold shoulder encourages most people to sit back and relax, embracing the right technology during a construction project helps keep homeowners in the driver’s seat of the design and building process. As local architect Michael Pagnotta, founder of Ship Bottom’s Michael Pagnotta Architecture & Construction, shares, “Many new technologies deal with improving communication and streamlining processes, and we look to the new technologies for these very benefits.” Taking advantage of the following innovative tools will not only change the way homeowners plan their next design and construction project, but will allow them to walk through their new home even before so much as a hammer has been lifted.


The most important component of a successful design and building project is communication. “Many of our clients live far away and lead very busy lives. Our ability to communicate 24/7 via texting, email, and cloud storage helps us leverage our clients’ available time,” Pagnotta says. He adds, “Because we have such an extensive history of designing and building homes on LBI, social media platforms like Houzz, Pinterest, and Instagram give us an ability to organize and present our past work in various ways for the prospective client looking for examples of our work or for current clients looking for ideas.”

Social media channels have forever changed the way client and designer interact, exchange sketches, and even compare design preferences. These top three portals (Houzz, Pinterest, and Instagram) not only provide easy access to portfolios and photography by the architects and designers, but also allow the client to keep a virtual bulletin of their own design ideas and inspirations—giving each stakeholder a very clear understanding of the others’ creative vision.

3D And The New Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are buzzwords not only in the tech world, but within the building and design industries as well. Both considered forms of three-dimensional (3D) visualizations, AR creates images or videos in the space in front of a user, while VR immerses the user in an entirely new, computer generated, environment. “Our 3D visualizations offer clients on-screen models within which they can rotate, walk around, and even see what their home will look like at high noon or shortly after dusk. In fact, with today’s technologies we can even set the exact date and time of day you want to view the model,” explains Mike Bonelli, Project Architect at Pagnotta’s firm. Revolutionizing the way homeowners can not only see, but experience, their new homes before construction has even begun is a game changer for the industry.

Although seeing and experiencing a fabricated experience may leave one awestruck, there is a level of physicality that will never fade from the design process—but that doesn’t mean it has to remain archaic. Enter the 3D printer. Bonelli describes, “Within the architecture field, and many other design fields, the benefits of the 3D printer are extraordinary. Not unlike a 3D visualization on screen, our physical models give clients an idea of scale, lighting, and shadow lines. However, the physical model also creates a tangible reality; clients can envision themselves walking up the stairs of their new home. The concept of connecting masses and intersecting roof lines is now brought to life through these 3D physical models.” According to the firm, key physical visualizations that are conveyed include everything from how a home will respond to changing flood levels, to getting a better grasp for how a home raised on tall pilings will relate to the site, or even how the vertical circulation will be designed best in reverse-living situations.

There is no doubt a significant advantage to clientele when an knowledgeable architect invests in the latest design technology and applications available. Mr. Pagnotta reveals, “Our ability to bring schematic designs to 3D life early gives us a leg up on the design processes of the past when a client wouldn’t know what a house would actually look like until the end of design process…We use 3D as a working tool so we can get immediate feedback from clients early in the design process.”

The most valuable benefit of effective communication and innovative technology is the ability to give homeowners a truthful and realistic sneak preview of their vision. Undeniably, the architectural technologies discussed by Michael Pagnotta and his team modernize and streamline the entire designing and building process, yielding impeccable service and the most sophisticated experience on the market.

Michael Pagnotta AIA established his architect-led design/build firm on Long Beach Island in 1990. Over the past 27 years his firm has been responsible for the design and construction of over 500 homes on LBI. Pagnotta graduated from the University of Texas and is a licensed architect, licensed planner, and registered builder. For more information on Mike and his firm, visit or follow them on Houzz via Michael Pagnotta Architects pc, Instagram @michaelpagnottaarchitects and

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