A Decade of Design with Diana

This summer, we’re celebrating the milestone anniversary that marks a decade of design with Diana Moosman, MWA’s Lead Design Architect in the Portland Housing Studio. We appreciate each contribution that Diana has made in the past ten years, striving to bring beautiful design and affordable housing together to serve Portland’s communities. A strong conceptual designer with an eye for detail, Diana has provided thoughtful work to all of her projects. Her collaborative design approach brings a variety of voices to the table to create purpose-driven architecture that addresses the needs of the building residents and the surrounding community. Diana is a devoted mentor, designer, and teammate, and we’re grateful to have her creativity and talent at MWA.

“Diana is an excellent colleague to have at MWA. I appreciate that she is super approachable, quick to laugh, and a great storyteller. I seek her out for a wide range of support but specifically for design challenges, tricky problem solving, and even campground and mushroom hunting recommendations. We are lucky to have such a great mentor (lady mentor at that!) in house and excited to share her passion.”

– Taryn Wheeler

What project(s) have you worked on most recently?

Affordable apartments in the Portland area including Arts Plaza, Cathedral Village, St. Helens, Good Shepherd, Canopy Apartments on Powell, 12 Mile Crossing, and Renaissance Commons

What project phase is your favorite? Why?

Schematic Design when you are inspired by the new challenge of a site and program. Thinking about how to insert a project that brings out the spirit of these unique circumstances.

I also like detailing in later phases – making the execution elegant to support the concept. I enjoy seeing the details work out in construction!

How have the responsibilities and expectations of your job changed in the last few years? 

As a lead designer, I work on a lot more projects through design and do most of my work in SketchUp and hand drawings, then redlining the CD’s through the later phases. I have had to become an expert at Bluebeam during Covid!

I don’t get to draw CD’s anymore, which I really miss. There is a lot of design work- thinking about compositions, thinking about making beautiful drawings – that happens when drafting. I used to love those full days of drafting and listening to music. I do enjoy sketching over the Revit models to explore design ideas. Having that precise 3D base is a wonderful tool.

How do you maintain work/life balance? During COVID, how have you been maintaining your sanity?

I started working out with an early online class and that has kept me sane. Also having my backyard for socializing and viewing from my office. I really enjoyed eating outside around a fire through the winter. Made me feel like a hardy Norwegian. I loved all the cozy outdoor environments that were created.

What do you hope to do more of in the next few years? 

Strengthen my own designs and process. Work with and learn from young MWA designers. Cultivate more conversations about design throughout the office.

What is your next career goal that you would like to tackle? 

I feel that throughout my career only a few projects have been what I would consider 90% resolved (as close to perfect as you can get). I want more of those.

“Diana has brought clarity and refinement to our design projects, always striving for a little more and wanting to share that passion with everyone in the office.”

– Bill Lanning

What lasting impact do you hope to have at MWA?

I hope to strengthen the design quality and culture of the firm and to leave a string of projects that contribute to our strong Portland design fabric. I believe this will bring us more work as we are pretty great to work with.

When you started your career, why did you want to become an architect? 

I liked the balance between art and precision in architecture. I also thought a lot about space when I was young. I enjoy creating interesting spatial sequences. What has proven wonderful about this career is how you are always learning and evolving.

Is there a particular architect’s work that inspires you? Why?

Locally I am inspired by the work of Lever and Hacker. They create projects that are contextual, with rich materiality and simple but spirited concepts.

Internationally for housing, I have been inspired by Allison Brooks and lately Orange Architects in the Netherlands.

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