An interview with Chris Zimmerman, AIA
by Gina Pasharikov, Intern Architect
What inspired you to open your firm?
A: Even as a student of architecture it was my goal to open my own Architectural Practice. My desire was to have the ability to make my own decisions and position a practice for the future. After graduation, I immediately pursued registration and achieved this within three years. My experience with the City of Fort Lauderdale provided me with a strong understanding of municipal government and architecture.
Who inspired you when you began your career?
A: Mr. Bob Hall, AIA was a great mentor during my ten years at the City of Fort Lauderdale. We were City Architects and designed many facilities throughout the city. Mr. Marvin Scharf, AIA also provide mentorship in the private practice world.
What goals have you been able to accomplish with CPZ? What goals would you still like to accomplish?
A: Naturally as I opened CPZ, the main goal was to be successful and establish a well-respected practice within the community and profession. Having successfully grown and prospered, even thru tough economic times, CPZ Architects has attained this goal. We were award the 2022 Firm of the Year by the Fort Lauderdale American Institute of Architects. My future goals are to establish an Ownership Transition Plan so the firm can continue to grow under the direction of other dedicated professionals with a passion for Architecture.
What is your greatest professional and personal achievement?
A: As an Architect, my greatest professional achievement is the ability to say that I continue to work with many of the same clients since the CPZ doors opened 20 years ago. This is a testament to the firm’s tag line that states: “Designing Quality Architecture that builds lasting Relationships.” Regarding my greatest personal achievement, it would have to be my family life. Married for 30 years and having raised three great children, I can see each of them heading in the right and positive direction
What do you do to take a break from being a Boss?
A: Architects never have time to take a break! But on occasion, I enjoy heading offshore for a great day of fishing.
What inspires you?
A: Traveling to view architecture and observing its ability to communicate and influence people.
What is your best advice?
A: “Best advice is to be happy in what you do. It was a Saturday morning when my 6 year daughter came into the home office and asked, ‘Dad are you working again?’ Wow, talk about stopping in your tracks. But I said to her, ‘I am doing what I like to do so it is not work. I can only hope that when you grow up, you like what you decide to do.’ Then I also said, ‘But if you want to do something sweetheart, I will stop and we will go!’ If you love what you do, think about it all the time, then it really does not become work.”
What advice would you give the younger generation of Architects?
A: Architecture is a profession and as such you are always learning. Be passionate about what you are doing and live it. If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. If you want to grow, dive in with both feet, this is not a 40 hour a week job.