Nashville Now Next Magazine

Page 26


celebrating 40 years of ‘maverick’ By Justin Gibson architecture

manuel zeitlin architects, an employee-owned architecture firm in Nashville, has been revolutionizing the city’s visual landscape with their impactful designs for 40 years. Since being founded by Zeitlin in 1981, MZA has been responsible for many iconic landmarks in and around Nashville. The Chelsea apartment building on 12 South? Yeah, that was them. The time traveling



of the centennial renovation at the University School of Nashville? That was them too. As a company that has long prided itself on being the intersection of art and architecture, it might be difficult to believe that they started out with a pretty low profile. MZA spent its first few years working out of a renovated apartment house on





eventually become Bongo Java; the two even shared the space for a short while. MZA moved, but got a new roommate: Zeitgeist Gallery. The constant influx of art installations at Zeitgeist has helped Standard Assembly*

to fuel the creative soul behind MZA’s architectural designs.

The Chelsea Condominiums

INK Building

For a long time, it was easy to walk right by MZA’s office without knowing it. Zeitgeist Gallery had a sign, but MZA sported an ambiguous hand-painted scrawl (at the back door, mind you) that read, “A maverick radar guides fate,” the epitome of their aforementioned low profile. In 2019, MZA transitioned into being an employee-owned company. However,

Dube Orthopedics & Physical Therapy

Cummins Station

the shift in ownership didn’t radically change the way the team operates. MZA has championed an environment of collaboration since day one. The new model gives employees a greater financial stake in the company along with other benefits. Co-owner Juliana Daily appreciates the opportunity for greater self-reflection, “This shift required that we pause for a second and look at who

* In Collaboration with EOA Architects

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