Merrill Pastor and Colgan Architects was founded in 1990. Their work spans a wide range of scales, a variety of building programs and varied sites. Scott Merrill, who founded the firm, has for the last twenty years been the lead designer for the firm. Partners George Pastor and David Colgan have been involved with project management and design assistance in all of the firm's major projects in the last fifteen years.
Scott Merrill's first project as a sole practitioner received a national AIA Design Award in 1991. The firm's first group of buildings received a national AIA Urban Design Award in 2000. Their first public building received a national AIA Design Award in 2004. The firm started working at a larger scale when they won a federal courthouse in the GSA's Design Excellence program in 2001. The firm's work, as a whole, received the Arthur Ross Award from the Institute of Classical Architecture in New York in 2004. Their projects have been recognized for their design fourteen times by the Florida Association of the AIA.
Scott Merrill has lectured on the firm's work at Yale, Notre Dame, Berkeley, and the Houston Fine Arts Museum; in New York at the Lotos Club and the University Club; and at AIA chapters throughout Florida and the south. The firm's work has been written about by the architectural historian Vincent Scully and by Leon Krier. They have collaborated with some of the world's best architects and land planners.
Overview of Projects
About forty five projects have been documented on the firm's web page. The work is at all scales, from houses to large urban design projects. The firm intentionally does not specialize in particular building types. Projects include a federal courthouse, churches, town halls, a university addition and master plan, an office campus, hotels, barns, mixed-use blocks, gardens, plazas, courtyards, a high speed train station, clubs, and multifamily and single family housing.
The projects are all over the world- in New Zealand, St. Petersburg, Edinburgh, Abu Dhabi, London, San Francisco, Saudi Arabia, New England, and throughout Florida and the Caribbean. Sites range from undistinguished flat coastal plains where beautiful landscapes have to be formed; to Audubon easements and historic estates where beautiful landscapes have to be maintained; from the desert to the tropics; from historic districts, to central business districts; college campuses, ocean fronts, marinas, small islands, and mountainsides. Most of the firm's work is done in hurricane wind zones.
Urban Design, Historic Preservation, Sustainability and Project Management
For twenty years the firm's principle interest has been the development of building types and site planning that use land more efficiently and intensely. The larger work merges architecture, landscape, and urban design. In designing multi-building projects there is a consistent emphasis on designing the project perimeter to make good city blocks, on designing the edge to create attractive points at which to enter the block, and on designing the block interiors to add appeal to less valuable exposures. A principal aim is to create buildings and spaces that make movement through the blocks interesting and enjoyable, and integrated with larger existing patterns of circulation. Because there are always too few public buildings, private buildings are used to enhance public spaces and to perform public functions.
Scott Merrill, who was a field historian before getting his degree in architecture, did drawings for the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and did numerous small additions while interning in Washington, DC. The firm has done houses and small additions in historic districts like Telluride, Edgartown and Highland Park. The house at the Shelburne Farm Estate in Vermont had more to do with maintaining the integrity of the existing historic landscape; the house on Buzzard's Bay with respecting an adjoining Audubon easement.
The firm has done master planning for the University of Miami's School of Architecture. In something of an inversion of the typical preservation scenario, the existing campus is comprised of a new classical building and proto-modern historic structures from the late 1940's.
The firm has experience with complex client groups. The Fort Pierce Federal Courthouse had at least a hundred parties with a vital interest in the project, from federal judges, clerks and court architects, to US Marshalls, federal attorneys and defenders, to GSA peer reviewers, GSA project managers and GSA's MEP and security consultants. We dealt with GSA offices in both Washington and Atlanta, and a courts system out of Miami. We are working with numerous MEP, transportation, parking, and financial consultant and client groups on the architecture for a master plan for Al Ain's central district.
We have consistently addressed all these concerns for the last twenty years and we will carry them into future projects.