Architect revisits Gables roots with photo exhibit at Books & Books

As a young architect embarking on a solo practice over 30 years ago, Ted Hoffman landed ideal office space to grow his business — upstairs in a historic building in Coral Gables with a view of the original Books & Books at the corner of Aragon Avenue and Salzedo Street.

Hoffman, a University of Miami graduate, already had some Miami projects to his credit during his first few years working with well-known architect Lester Pancoast before striking out on his own.

When he wasn’t designing buildings or developing business at his new office, Hoffman had time to schmooze with an equally tentative counterpart in the business world, a former schoolteacher by the name of Mitchell Kaplan, who’d just opened the new independent bookstore.

“Not only did Mitchell and I become fast friends, I also met some of his guests when they had time to kill before their book signings,” recalls Hoffman. “I’ll never forget going to the store to hang out with Mitchell or just to peruse the books, and Mitchell would say, ‘Ted, can you come back at 6 and talk with so-and-so who is doing a reading? I’m busy setting up.’ ”

And that’s how Hoffman got to spend a relatively private moment with people like Jimmy Carter, John Cage and Dave Barry, to name a few.

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