Tianyu Wang


Au milieu

Advised by Diane Davis

The study aims to identify and establish ways in which abandoned structures and buildings can be repurposed to generate the spatial places and infrastructures to meet existing and anticipated threats to free democratic life, such as terrorism, pandemics, and climate change. In terms of studying the specific typologies of repurposing projects, the abandonments once had their incentives for existence and justifications for their escape from eventual demise. 

Two ways of improving the old structure in response to new threats include preemptively generating as many plans as possible before the threats become real and developing a more adaptable spatial structure. 

For instance, the parking garage and industrial building, both of which were propagated around the world in response to industrial and technological revolutions, were abandoned due to severe environmental problems such as the climate crisis. The repurposing of both promoters ensures the environmental, cultural, and economic benefits of the country, such as reduction of energy consumption and carbon emission, while preserving historical value. After a series of assumptions about nonlinear temporality, the consequence is the extrapolation of a space—the type that is event-oriented, risk-resistant, and resilient. I have named it “au milieu” space. As an experimental field, I propose Tokyo, a city with a complicated and risky environment to launch au milieu spaces.

A black-and-white birds-eye-view of a Tokyo, Japan, bisected by a river. What appears to be the base of the Eiffel Tower spans the river and projects a gridded white space upwards to display the title “au milieu” in brackets.