We had the good fortune of connecting with Zalmy Meyer and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Zalmy, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
There is an old Yiddish adage “Tracht Gut Vet Zein Gut”, which translates to “Think Good, and it Will be good”, that mixed with when Kanye said “For me giving up’s way harder than trying” and you have the perfect balance. I believe a lot of life can be summarized in the idea that you get out of any situation what you put into it, whenever you decide to take a risk, to start something new, to set a new goal the most important thing is to go in with the full confidence that you will come out the other end successful, I quit a great job to finish my Architecture License with no plans for what would happen when I got their, other than knowing if I took care of this dream I had, the universe would take care of me. Believing you can achieve something is half of the battle, so whatever it is in life you decide to do, you have to believe it will work out with full Kanye levels of confidence before you even take your first swing, if you swing with your fullest intentions, almost nothing becomes impossible, even if it takes a few missed swings to get there.

What should our readers know about your business?
What sets me apart is probably a trifecta of three things, my background in photography, my roots and deep love for Miami and my approach generally towards the field of Architecture.

Firstly, my passion for photography is something that’s grown congruently inline with my Architecture career, When I’m traveling or just exploring Miami with my camera and stop to shoot a building, it gives me the ability to instead of looking at buildings like an Architect, observe them as an outsider. Focusing in on details and then editing the photos with what I think I’ve developed to be a unique style, often taking the colors of the environment to the extreme or mirroring buildings in-photo to give me a whole new look at Architecture and what it could be, it takes me to a world without Clients, Building Departments or Structural Engineering. When we can take our creative ideas to an extreme like that and then bend them back down to reality meeting somewhere in the middle is when we get our best work as creatives, its sort of a shoot for the moon and land in the stars mentality. The deeper I get into photography the more I can start to envision what the building will look like in the eyes of someone standing inside it with a camera before I ever put pen to paper, what does the lighting look like if you’re standing here, how does the space feel overall as a scene, it makes every move during the design process feel a lot more purposeful.

Similar things can be said when working with a Miami Native like myself, My family has been in South-Florida for 5 generations now, with some of earliest relatives first landing here in the 1800s, and I’ve always felt a deep and personal connection to the city, My Great Grandfather was a construction worker, and helped build some of the oldest communities in Miami, my Grandfather a real-estate appraiser and taxi driver who between both jobs knew his way around Miami better than anyone; a trade later taken on by my Uncle who the same could be said about. My mother, a writer who specializes in Miami History and even my brother who is a Real-Estate agent here today. Miami is something that quite literally has been in my blood and a large part of my upbringing, and we all know we do things differently down here, understanding the fine lines between each neighborhood in South Florida, their unique styles and ways of life and most importantly the significance of decent shade and a good cross breeze is crucial when working in this city, and it shows in every design I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of.

To bring it back to my field and my career, Id say many people externally believe Architecture and Architects themselves to be artists, however I don’t and never have considered myself to be artistic, creative maybe, but to me Architecture is more of a science than anything. It’s formulas based off of each client and buildings unique needs that when laid out correctly and put in the right order create something exquisite. When you start to think of a building less as a set of loose ideas put together, but instead something that as a sum of its parts comes together to be one breathing organism everything just seems to work out, when you don’t start by trying to make the building beautiful but instead let the building be something that responds to the needs of the user, the environment and its context it will always end up being something even more than that as a result.

Now, to answer the question more directly of how I got where I am, Id say I’ve tried to avoid any tasks that felt repetitive for most of my life, I have bad ADHD and focus issues, and if I don’t feel fully intrigued or challenged by what I am doing I lose that focus rather quickly, Helmut Jahn, a great Architect who passed away last year once said “Every building is a prototype, no two are alike”. Working in the field of Architecture requires a lot of problem solving, every day feels like a new challenge, a new fire to be put out, a new request from a client that you’ve never heard before. Being in this field makes every day feel unique, and the feeling of after all the months and years of daily problem solving, seeing something that began as a thought in your mind be built as a physical thing that exists in this world is one of the greatest feelings there is, and one I don’t think ill ever get tired of.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Miami is unfortunately a car town, and there’s a few drives through the city I love doing with newcomers that work to really situate you. You can drive Biscayne all the way north from Coconut Grove all the way up to Steve’s Pizza, passing all of the MiMo Architecture on the way up. Take 125th west from there stopping at Café Crème and a few of the great antique shops in North Miami before taking 2nd Ave all the way back south, you’ll pass through some of my favorite areas like Miami Shores and El-Portal before hitting the Citadel in Little Haiti and then watch as the city morphs into Buena Vista, Design District, Midtown, Edgewater and eventually reach downtown. there’s a weeks worth of activities just on that street.

That being said, there’s a few other Items and areas we definitely need to get out of the way if its your first time here, we have to start with Coffee by Vice City Bean, then head to Wynwood for an Art Walk and lunch at The Taco Stand, after that were walking through the Design District and working our way to Night Owl Cookies.

Once we do those, there is so many beautiful activities Miami has to offer if you’re here for a longer time; biking over the Venetian Causeway to South Point at Sunset/Sunrise and watching the cruise ships come to port is one of those experiences that leaves you really understanding the whole “Magic City” thing.

Coconut Grove could be a day in itself, doing brunch by Green Street Café and then continuing to either Vizcaya or the Kampong, and if you’re up for it were crossing the Rickenbacker to head to the Marine Stadium and take in my personal favorite view of the city skyline.

Other honorable mentions is Fincas Coffee in Upper Buena Vista, another one of those places that make you feel like you’ve escaped to another universe.

Lastly, Miami has so many cultural mainstays of hole in the wall cafes and areas that will always be the closest to my heart, Skip Versailles and instead find any place with a Ventanita, a yellow or red awning, and one of those big orange water coolers on the counter and you cant go wrong. I could name them all but we’d be here all week so you’ll just have to come down here and see.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There’s way too many to even count, I’ve always bought into the idea of surrounding yourself only with people who have the qualities you wish for in yourself, who only give off positive and supportive energy, and thanks to that I’m truly surrounded by some of the greatest people in the world who have cheered me on and been by my side in all my endeavors, and where id be nowhere without. Whether that be my friends who have been by my side through every late night contemplation, my superhero of a Mother who endlessly did the impossible growing up, my siblings who have always been an inspiration, and a few of the close and personal relationships I’ve been able to have with some of the people at the top of my field, both academically and architecturally who have treated me as one of their own since day one and been around for guidance whenever it was needed.

Website: https://www.sad-arc.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zalmymeyer/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/zalmymeyer/

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