Ralph R. Mackin, Jr., AIA, grew up in the New York and New England rural area. Throughout his childhood, he gained an appreciation of the region’s historic architectural styles: the Victorian and its sub-styles Shingle, Stick, and Queen Anne; other classics such as Tudor, Cotswold, Bungalow, Arts and Crafts, Georgian, Colonial Farmhouses, and Capes; as well as unique Lake Cottages and grand Adirondack Camps. Taken together, these styles constitute the vernacular that creates the feel of the region.
From this exposure, Ralph developed a love of architecture. “These homes are all beautiful, but many times they don’t have floor plans that live the way we do today,” he admits. Given this challenge, he has developed his own style of interpreting classic structures, adding features that were not part of our lifestyles 100 years ago. Many of his homes include contemporary amenities like three-car garages, large family rooms, kitchens, informal dinettes, larger bathrooms, and the integration of electronics (such as televisions and speakers). Ralph pays a lot of attention to this dilemma and has successfully navigated this juxtaposition throughout his career. “Creating light, bright, enjoyable homes and living spaces, oriented to take advantage of the sun and the site’s views while respecting its historic reference—that’s my objective,” he adds.
Ralph attended Catholic University of America, where he majored in Architecture. After graduation, he fulfilled an apprenticeship with local architects and even worked for a residential contractor to better understand the techniques of the trade. Taking all he learned from those master craftsmen, along with his love of classic residential architecture, Ralph established Mackin Architects, PLLC, in 1992 to pursue and practice his vision of residential architecture. This brought excellent opportunities to showcase his talents, and soon the firm branched out into other structures, such as expanding historic regional religious and country club facilities. Ralph believes the design of public rural buildings and residential architecture go hand in hand, as they co-exist in our neighborhoods.
Mackin Architects, PLLC, enjoys a flourishing practice based on these principles. Located in North Salem, New York, the firm builds projects across New England, the Mid-Atlantic states, and beyond. “The advent of technology has made it much easier to work, and location of a project is no longer as much of a barrier,” Ralph says. This allows Mackin Architects, PLLC, to work almost anywhere.