Providing Custom Design-Build Services Along the Jersey Shore Since 1990


Michael Pagnotta- Principal


In 1983 Mike earned a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin, where he focused on energy-efficient design and construction and was the recipient of the American Institute of Architects award for the Scholarly Pursuit of Architecture. While at the University of Texas, a summer job proved to be a life-changing opportunity. During seven weeks on Utila, a small island off the coast of Honduras, Mike worked side by side with architect Brad Duncan, who in his youth was an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesen. Duncan was a pioneer in free-form organic architecture and construction and is an influence to this day. 


Returning to his native Ocean County in 1987, Mike interned with Gym Wilson Architect on Long Beach Island, NJ before establishing the architectural firm of Michael Pagnotta Architects in 1990.  Mike quickly established himself as one of New Jersey’s most creative residential architects, and his organic contemporary style is reflected in the homes he designs and builds along the New Jersey coastline.  His ability to shift gears and design traditional homes with the same originality expanded his client base, and within a few years Michael Pagnotta Architecture + Construction grew to over 20 employees.


Over the past twenty years, Mike has been been chosen “Best Architect” in Ocean and Burlington Counties, NJ many times over.  In 1999 he was honored with Custom Home Magazine's Pacesetter Award.  While best known for his work along the coast, Mike and his firm have considerable experience designing residential developments. In 2000, the firm swept every award in their categories at the New Jersey NHAB Convention for their Tallships at Stafford development, including Best Development and Best Single-Family Design.  Mike was chosen to speak at the 2002 National Builder’s Show in Atlanta Georgia, where he presented fresh and inventive ideas with respect to Second Homes in the USA.   In 2005, Mike's work was featured at the Long Beach Island Foundation’s conference on “The Architects of Long Beach Island”.


Mike's experience and insight have enabled him to find intelligent solutions for challenging sites.  He counts as past clients professional athletes and well-known business icons who appreciate the innovative design-build delivery method he’s been perfecting over the past 20 years.


Mike is NCARB certified, allowing him to practice architecture all over the United States. He is also a licensed Professional Planner in the state of NJ and has represented over 100 different projects in Variance and Land Use Applications.


Once again, Mike is working in Honduras, this time on the island of Roatan, where he is designing several self-sufficient energy-independent developments.


Within his community, Mike has served for many years on the Medford Township Zoning Board and Historical Advisory Board and is an active member of the Medford-Vincentown Rotary Club.


Mike is married and the father of four children. He is actively involved in the Special Olympics of New Jersey and coaches girls’ fastpitch softball.



Rhonda Ellis - Project Architect

Rhonda has over 20 years experience as project architect for residential projects of every shape and size.
After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Architecture degree, Rhonda worked for several Texas builders before accepting an architectural position with Gym Wilson Architects on LBI in 1989. In 1991 Rhonda joined Michael Pagnotta Architects and has been a key member in the firm ever since.

Rhonda’s pragmatic approach to architecture and desire to develop plans that are easily built in the field has been a key to the firm’s success. She brings a traditional style to her projects and with simple elegance and uncluttered plans being hallmarks of her designs.

Rhonda’s work has earned critical acclaim within our industry. As lead designer for the TallShips development, Michael Pagnotta Architects was the recipient of seven SAM Awards at the NAHB Builder Show including “Best Single Family Home”, and “Community of the Year”.

Over the last several years , Rhonda’s focus has been on the design and documents of some of the best single family homes on the Jersey Shore. Although her background is in larger homes, Rhonda is very comfortable working on a simple addition or renovation- and she brings the same calm and helpful attitude to each project.