Proust Nature Questionnaire – Christiana Moss

CHRISTIANA MOSS is managing principal and a founding partner of Studio Ma, the current AIA Arizona Firm of the Year and a recent Architectural Record Design Vanguard Firm. Her interests in advanced environmental design and the relationship between natural and cultural systems inform her design philosophy. She is one of five Studio Ma principals and practices collaboratively with Christopher Alt, Dan Hoffman, Jason Boyer and Tim Keil. The hallmark of studio is a commitment to sustainability and research, seen most recently in Princeton University’s net-zero ready 715-bed Lakeside Graduate Student Community.

As part of the firm’s mission of advancing the practice of sustainable design, Studio Ma has recently developed a “triple net-zero” concept for higher education research buildings and practices using an integrated design process, for its campus, cultural and urban infill projects. Their work on university campuses focuses on student residential life, academic and research projects. Other notable recent projects include Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, a Smithsonian affiliate, Arizona State University’s Manzanita Hall, Northern Arizona University’s Native American Cultural Center, the Cranbrook Institute of Science addition, master planning and cabin prototypes for Summit Powder Mountain, PRD845 and artHAUS, an urban infill development. Studio Ma has received significant recognition for their work, including AIA Arizona Honor awards, the Chicago Athenaeum and SCUP/AIA National Honor for Building Design. Their buildings have been featured in Metropolis, Architectural Record and The New York Times.

Christiana received her Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Essential

Integral

Threatened

3 things Nature taught you? 

Humility

Awe

Self-reflection

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

Fire Island

Oak Creek Canyon, AZ

My back yard

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…? 

When I’m looking out to the ocean I feel small and infinite at the same time.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…? 

When I’m in a forest I feel sheltered, embraced and connected to the earth.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

I haven’t seen a volcano yet.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…? 

Thankful for its rising and anxious for its return when it sets.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…? 

Hearing thunder makes me want to seek shelter.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…? 

I enjoy feeling the wind on my face and prefer to be in it instead of hearing it from the indoors.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person? 

This is a difficult question. I love them all and they are all connected, perhaps some at different times. I began as an ocean person. The desert was once an ocean and I now enjoy the expanse of sky of both, the silhouette of mountains and the unique life water’s absence creates in the desert. The forest is a place I go to be immersed in the smells and sounds of the earth and I long for this too, perhaps I will become a forest person.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 

1 (being most important)

Share with us a childhood nature memory? 

I lived as a child on Fire Island without cars, free to run and swim in the ocean, walking in sand barefoot all summer long, picking blueberries and chasing rabbits. I lost this when I moved to New York when I was 12 and I’ve been longing to return to life without a city ever since.

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