In the offices of architect Z.W. (Zeb) Jarosz, a space designed for the purpose of encouraging creativity, books detailing Florida’s building codes and construction laws fill a six-foot-long bookshelf from end to end.
“When I started here in Miami, I had one very thick three-ring binder – maybe four or five inches wide – which was the entire code book,” Zeb said. “It's my fantasy to be an architect, maybe, a hundred years ago, when you could really put all your energy into the creative process, versus trying to comply with all the zoning rules and regulations.”
Born in Poland, Zeb studied at Krakow University of Technology and started his career working on historical restoration and preservation projects. In the 1980s, he moved to the U.S. and passed the state board exam four years later, then opened his own office.
“I enjoy the creative process that's a big part of being an architect,” he said. “It's very stimulating, very exciting, and also very stressful because of the realities of dealing with applicable codes, construction methods and techniques. At the same time, though, it’s very rewarding because as an architect, you are also an artist.”
Zeb’s firm, Z.W. Jarosz Architect, P.A., has been successful for a variety of reasons, characteristics that differentiate the company from other architecture firms.
“We are a design-build firm and because I am both an architect and a contractor, that is rather uncommon,” he said. “As a team, we bring a wealth of international experience. I have people literally from all over the world, including Argentina and Lebanon and, of course, myself being from Poland. That influences our work and we range from very traditional, classic design, all the way to very modern architecture.”
Focusing mainly on high-end residential projects, Zeb says that his approach to working with clients involves truly understanding what will make them happy and comfortable in their home.
“You almost have to become a psychologist,” he said. “With certain clients, you may have to become a psychiatrist. Very often, the client will say, ‘Oh, this is what I want,’ and tell you their ideas. The next question is, ‘Why?’ And as you go through that analytical process, I will make recommendations and the design completely changes.”
To illustrate the point, he described working with a well-known couple involved in sports on their new home.
“They both have excellent taste,” he said. “But they seemed to be jumping from one style to another. Finally, we were able to refine the process and I think that's due to the fact that I emphasized background, their preferences, and why those preferences exist. They were very pleased with the final design.”
Finally, Zeb added that his being drawn to South Florida actually has roots going back to his upbringing in Poland, which included a love of boating.
“I have always loved boating and sailing. In fact, I am still known in certain parts of the Bahamas as ‘Captain Z.’”