Site Construction: Planning the Unplanned (Andria Orejuela)

Location: This collection of photographs, map, and written analysis documents specific construction sites located on 50th and University, 47th and 15th, 12th and Pine, Broadway and Pike, and the Aurora Bridge in addition to examining a variety of sites throughout the city of Seattle.

The urban construction site is an intriguing and revealing micro-urban form. It is a literal manifestation of the organic nature of the changing urban landscape illuminating the priorities and needs of the city as determined by the economic forces driving its planning. It is also a changing entity which forces adaptation both in and around it. It catalyzes temporary changes in mobility and mobility as a temporary micro-space which accompanies and facilitates the processes of building, rebuilding, demolition and alterations played out in the urban realm. These changes are vernacular pathways which illuminate the organic, unplanned nature of urban growth and transformation.

The construction site shapes movement by presenting itself as a temporary obstruction derailing former human and ecological usage patterns. Fences, railing, cones, signs, overhead structures, underground upheavals, plastic siding, and the layered nature of the site-mass-matrix itself change and create new movement, transportation, sheltered spaces, entries, seating, and visual access.

The construction site is a stage where the human processes are enacted and tailored. The habitual performance of the human social experience including work, rest, eating, and using the bathroom is displayed on this public stage within a stage.

Formed as temporary assemblage of resources including space, proximity, labor, and material the construction site articulates the planned changes that occur in the city on a macro-level, and the unplanned changes that are expressed in the micro-sphere.



1 Response to “Site Construction: Planning the Unplanned (Andria Orejuela)”

  1. 1 Erin Landvatter May 24, 2007 at 1:17 am


    First, this is a beautiful collection of photographs! I’m intrigued.

    And then, of course, I have to ask how you’re doing and whether this website means that you are no longer interested in teaching… Does it? If so, ok. I can deal with it. But if you are actually interested in continuing to teach, I’ll be trying my hardest to recruit you to teach Spanish in a brand new school I’ll be at next year. Though it’s been seven years since our MIT program, I know I’d still LOVE teaching with you and that you’d be great. Really!

    I hope you’re doing well. (It’s exciting to see that you’re back in Seattle!) And regardless of whether you’re interested in teaching or not, you should come visit us sometime this summer. My school email is

    Take care (and seriously consider my proposal!),

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Micro Urbanism

The term “micro-urbanism” describes small-scale urban spaces and design interventions that enable a wide variety of activities, events, processes and functions to take place. It also involves ways to reinterpret the urban landscape. As a class project, the purpose for creating this Guide is to bring attention to aspects of our everyday environment that are important but often neglected parts of the urban experiences.

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