top of page

Rust & Burn

Instead of designing to erase the impact of the contingent, architecture should accommodate it. Architects must consider not just the built form but also of how it might be touched by its inhabitants and surroundings. The construction of atmosphere may be thoughtfully guided, but its ongoing generation is ultimately beyond the control of humanity. The challenge is to design architecture with the slack to change and grow as its atmosphere develops. Together, light and material can work in conjunction to produce a sublime environment. The manner in which material receives light is one of the most universally recognizable components of atmosphere. A set of unpredictable variables both small and large, ranging from minute surface imperfections to large scale weather phenomena, will act on every material, and these materials will in turn act on each other. Over time, surfaces will develop a patina and quality which defies anticipation. Patterns and colors will emerge which transcend the most informed predictions. Rather than competing with the elements, with occupants, and with time, architecture can and should adapt to work with these factors.


Rust and Burn


Auburn, AL, USA




Justin Miller


Sculpture  ·  Material Study

Auburn University  ·  Studio X



Atmosphere  ·  2020

Plaster and concrete base volumes were produced using foam board forms.

Shed Chrysalis


As time moves forward, and material decays, it can physically change the experience of a space.  Light and material come together to create new colors and new readings, which make every visitor's  experience unique. In the end, there is no dominant ingredient in atmosphere. Ultimately, architecture must surrender to the passage of time and the will of the people who inhabit it. However, the manner in which a building ages may be considered, through its material selection, light quality, and attitude towards its inhabitants. Rather than building a wall to hold back the inevitable, architects can take the opportunity to design a canvas for it to act upon. Inviting the future and designing spaces which can adapt to it encourages the creation of a beautiful atmosphere.