What is site 1121?
A group of students from the University of Washington Department of Landscape Architecture, with the support of local volunteers and WSECU, spent the week of March 21 working on a vacant lot on the SW corner of NE 45th St and 12th Ave NE in the University District.
The group prepared the site by laying out boardwalks and work tables. Work days were spent cleaning up the site and making it more navigable; identifying and sketching the pioneer plant community that is reclaiming the site; and preparing for excavation work.
Preliminary site excavation enabled access to the foundation “ruins”, and continued light excavation allowed investigation into the geologic and developmental history of the site.
Excavations and section trenches permitted closer study of plant roots and the material and cultural remains of the site’s past. Volunteers engaged in a slowed-down process of documenting their findings, and were encouraged to follow their intuition in getting to know the site and revealing its character through this process.
As the work on site unfolded, participants also curated the site by reorganizing its contents in preparation for visitors on the last day. This process is known as assemblage, the simple act of rearranging found materials to tell a story that is present but not yet told.
On the afternoon of Friday March 25, the work culminated with a reception, giving a diverse group of neighbors and community members a unique chance to tour the site and to have their own experience of its revealed characteristics. The event was also a wrap party for the students, artists, and volunteers who brought this experimental urban garden to life through the simple expression of curiosity.