On behalf of the MIT School of Architecture and Planning, especially the students who now present the culmination of their M. Arch education through their thesis, we extend our gratitude to the guest critics who have generously joined us on Thursday, December 22, 2022:

Erin Besler, Garnette Cadogan, Sean Canty, Beatriz Colomina, Natalia Dopazo, Jenny French, Antonio Furgiuele, Caroline Jones, Ang Li, Diana Martinez, Lauren Pacheco, Julian Rose, John Todd, Ivonne Santoyo Orozco, Hans Tursack, Matthew Okazaki, Mark Wigley, and Alpha Yacob Arsano.

MIT Master’s
of Architecture

Fall 2022


Daisy Ziyan Zhang

Thesis Committee 

William O’Brien

Anne Whiston Spirn
Jeff Landman
Rosalyne Shieh

Time passes. Time sculpts wrinkles on our skin. Lines, creases, grooves, crevices, furrows... wrinkle is the externalization of aging. Architecture is not a static object that lives on our drawing - it is always in the process of perpetual perishing. Its durability, in fact, is only realized through incessant micro-cares, beit cleaning, amending, repairing, renovating, retrofitting...

What is the limitation of our learning model that we have inherited generations after generations; what is the blindspot in our vision, one that is so well educated and sophisticated; what is the premise of architecture that we don’t know well enough about, have no vocabularies to articulate, and perhaps have never even been properly trained to understand?

This thesis is an attempt to un-train our eyes and develop a new way of seeing, in order to understand architecture through the lens of time. Borrowing camera as a spatial tool, this thesis explores of an experiential, autobiographical understanding of data. It is rooted in an anonymous residential building in the center of Mexico City, one with 70 years of history being born, lived, earthquake-destructed, abandoned, repaired, cared for, rejuvenated, and so on.

As part of an ongoing practice, this thesis creates storytelling that unearths architecture as a living object. Inspired by our allied disciplines, such as photography, filmmaking, and landscape architecture, it dances between observation and imagination, attempting to build an alternative literacy, a set of linguistic representations for the fundamental entanglements architecture is situated with - time and people.