A millimeter of space

A wrinkled sheet of latex being peeled from a cement block wall.

The interface between the natural and human-made at a material surface suggests the formation of an ongoing process, in which the relationship between materials and the environment is displayed



Justina Dziama


Nicholas Brucia
Stephanie Davidson
Georg Rafailidis


Fall 2018


MArch - Thesis

This study, developed by Justina Dziama, attempts to capture the qualities and characteristics of the undiscussed, immeasurably thin space at the surface of a building, so that we might observe the high impact it has on the experience of a space.

The inspiration for the thesis was the post-industrial landscape of Buffalo in which ruins, as sites of material agency, demonstrate the transformations that take effect with a lack of human intervention and upkeep. The topography of this decaying, industrial architecture showcases materials as vulnerable embodiments of the past, subject to the threat of time. In this case, time becomes an important architectural element of these spaces and heightens our awareness about the lifespan of building as moving projects in a successive flow of transformations. This film is documented through hyperphysical photographs which reveal a palimpsest of layers, bearing the physical traces of a continuously changing condition. By recording in this way, these architectural films or skins act as a forum to discuss the junction between the natural and human made; the aesthetics of the aged surface and important role it plays as a maker of space.


…it became less about the data I was collecting, and more about building an intimacy with the ruined conditions…

– Justina Dziama, M.Arch


For Dziama, design not only provides insight into the time in which a work is created and a time-based understanding of their conditional surroundings; but, it also provides a means to explore the unknown, and discover the unexpected.

Dziama’s upbringing has a great effect on her work. Growing up in a multilingual household, her interest, understanding, and exposure to other cultures was cultivated at a very young age. These experiences have taught her that diversity is essential in problem solving – the more perspectives that are applied to a design problem, the more effective and enriching the experience. This constitutes a design process that she views as exploratory and iterative, enabling discovery and learning about people, and their relationship to the built environment.