Second Skin



Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Christiana Lafazani

Second Advisor

Camden Whitehead

Third Advisor

Rab McClure

Fourth Advisor

Emily Smith


Reason for writing. The space of confusion and possibility where the practices of art and design collide seems to be in a constant amoebic state. This place of shared influence and growth seems to pervade not only the intersection of these two disciplines, but within interior design, the intersection of people and space. How can the boundaries between an interior space and it’s inhabitants be as richly embedded with tension and opportunity as the edges where art and design meet? Like art and design, how can a space and it’s visitors interact to affect one another?

Problem + Methodology: This project explores these questions in a context mindful of their origin: The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The design proposal of inserting a fashion wing into the VMFA’s existing context evolves from research and process work across art, design, and architecture, from the scale of the building to the scale of a seat.

Results + Implications: The challenge of creating public space that can be just as responsive to and influential over it’s inhabitants as private space seems resolved through the navigation of movement and moment. Finding value in an unscripted discovery of a space and the ownership of private experiences, offers a way to feel engaged with and connected to a space that doesn’t rely on object ownership or territorial comfort. This solution does rely, however, on inhabitants capable of being present and responsive to their environment, allowing other visitor’s interactions with the space and their individual path through the exhibits to affect their perceptions of and connectedness with the design.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission