Lauren Moss Clark

Lauren Moss Clark’s strong architectural background makes her a valued member of the Treasure Coast Planning Council. SIOBHAN FITZPATRICK AUSTIN PHOTO


During high school, Lauren Moss Clark had one thing on her mind: surfing. She had no intention of going to college, but her academically minded parents had other plans. They made sure she showed up for classes, and thank goodness, because her high school in Ponte Vedra Beach required students to participate in a program for environmental and architectural design. Eighteen years later, the well-respected architect attributes that program as the inspiration for her career, even if she did not realize it at the time. “I learned how to draft then,” says Moss Clark. “It planted the seed.”

Today, Moss Clark is an independent contractor, working almost exclusively for the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council based in Stuart, where she most recently worked on an Arts Village project for downtown Vero Beach. “I loved that project. We got to do a lot of drawing, instead of just number crunching, like some other projects,” she says.

Moss Clark earned her master’s degree from the University of Miami and wrote her thesis on the adaptive reuse and historical preservation of the old Ford plant in Jacksonville. That gave her statewide recognition, and she was invited to speak at the DOCOMOMO (DOcumentation and COnservation of buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the MOdern Movement) symposium in that city in 2008.

After graduation in 2009, she stayed on in the city she had grown to love and freelanced for a number of companies, working on high-end residential homes, resorts in the Caribbean and historic properties. “I loved it all, but the historic buildings were my favorite,” says Moss Clark.

A hard worker, she always made time for her first love, surfing, and that’s where she met her husband, Robert. “I was surfing and he came down to the beach. He started flirting,” she says with a laugh. Robert also loved surfing so it did not take long for the romance to blossom.

As the couple started to think about their futures, they envisioned settling down somewhere a bit calmer than Miami. “It took me a half hour to drive seven miles,” says Moss Clark.

Meanwhile, Robert, a craftsman, had always dreamed of opening up a high-end pizza restaurant, something he was very familiar with as he had helped build two for friends in Vermont and New York from the ground up. He also learned how to make the “best pizzas” from scratch.

The couple did some research and found a Port St. Lucie restaurateur who was retiring, so they took the plunge. Fortunately, the basic equipment was there so they were able to get going rather quickly. “We found the perfect spot,” says Moss Clark.

They officially opened their pizzeria, Tavola (table in Italian), at 1684 SE Port St. Lucie Blvd., in 2012. A year later, the couple married, and a year after that, Moss Clark gave birth to their son, Ethan.

Caring for Ethan and helping Robert run Tavola kept Moss Clark happily busy, but her reputation as an architect followed her and it wasn’t long before she received an unexpected call from a colleague she had worked with in Miami. He was now with the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council in Stuart and asked if she would like to work on a project. “That was the last phone call I expected to get, but the office was so close by, and I love architecture, and my husband could handle the restaurant on his own, so I agreed,” she says.

Moss Clark is now a highly valued member of the Treasure Coast Planning Council, according to Dana P. Little, urban design director for the council. “When we began working with Lauren we knew she was special and, hopefully, a long-term team member. She is obviously bright and talented and has a strong architectural background, but in addition to that, she has an innate ability to work well with people,” says Little. “Working directly with the public on potentially contentious planning or development issues is not easy. This type of work requires a unique blend of competence, confidence, patience and compassion. Lauren exemplifies all of these traits and we are grateful that she has become a member of our team.”

Michael J. Busha, the council’s executive director, concurs. “Lauren is a hardworking, talented, and dedicated young architect, committed to serving the public,” says Busha.

Do such accolades go the young architect’s head? “Nah,” she says. “Ethan keeps me grounded!”

Name: Lauren Moss Clark
Age: 34
Family: Husband, Robert, and son, Ethan.
Hobbies: “I love surfing, redecorating our house and, most of all, being a mom.’’
Something most don’t know about me: “I’ve traveled the world, including Rome and studying throughout Italy, Greece, Egypt, Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro.’’