Few people are more qualified to advise on stone than Susan Moser. As head of her family business, Moser & Moser, she has more than 30 years’ experience consulting on how to use the material in construction projects, her company’s roots extending back to 1895. Her work has aided the development of world-renowned projects, including New York building complex Hudson Yards and the Danish National Bank in Copenhagen. Here, she fills us in on her latest work and how sustainability considerations factor into her work.
Tell us about some of the projects that you have been working on.
I have built my business as a stone consultant operating worldwide. A lot of my work is in the Middle East, often large-scale state building projects. This has included a very big mall in Abu Dhabi in the UAE, which I worked on for six years, completing the project in 2019. I am currently working in Saudi Arabia on an UNESCO World Heritage site project; for this, I am consulting on sourcing stone for an entirely new city built around a historic area outside of Riyadh, called Al Turaif. I work a lot in Denmark as well on various projects.
How important is sustainability in your work?
It is always important. There are a lot of different considerations for working sustainably with stone. The durability and suitability of the stone is essential to secure a long-lasting result and therefore also very important when talking about sustainability. You have to think about whether the stone is hard or soft, whether it will be heat, sun, salt, acid and frost resistant, whether it will need a lot of maintenance, just to mention some factors. So, there are a lot of technical parameters that need to be analysed in the lab before work can begin. And in terms of sourcing the stone, it is more environmentally friendly to source stone from nearby in order to avoid transport emissions and unnecessary costs. This is the most important factor when considering sustainability. But this is not always possible, as local stone is not always suitable for the job, so everything needs to be weighed up.
What is the most innovative project you have worked on, in terms of sustainability?
I think it’s the UNESCO site that I’m currently working on in Saudi Arabia. We are exclusively using limestone taken from local quarries and using it for all sorts of different applications: paving, flooring, cladding, benches, landscaping. And it is a huge quantity of stone we need – more than 1 million square metres. We are building a small city with a single type of stone. I’ve not seen anything like this anywhere else in the world.