Santiago Cirugeda

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Birthplace: Seville, Spain

Living place: Seville, Spain

Theme: architecture

ECC Participation: panel member

photo: Recetas Urbanas

A cult figure in Spanish urbanism. An architect going against the system. Founder of the “Recetas Urbanas” (“Recipes for the City”) collective.

”I don’t care whether my buildings survive 100 years. I prefer temporary architecture.”

Often called an urban guerilla and a squatter, but Cirugeda simply calls himself a citizen. He claims that he became an architect because there were no swings in the center of Seville. Cirugeda is a proponent of mobile, degradable architecture, like cheap condos quickly built on roofs. Famous for projects involving temporary architecture, tailored to the needs of locals. He wants the law to serve the people and not the other way around. Proposals for similar initiatives, exploiting loopholes in construction law, are often uploaded by Cirugeda to the Recetas Urbanas website. There you can find “recipes” for constructing habitable scaffoldings attached to facades of already existing buildings or houses built from “waste” materials that Cirugeda called “puzzles.” The collective is also working on a database of all sites in Spain that can be successfully architecturally recycled if and when such an opportunity presents itself.

Cirugeda is also known for urban interventions, such as “Take Back the Streets,” during which he placed a rubble container in the center of Seville. It turned out the container could be the basis for a swing, a stage, a mini-skate park, a small pond with a fountain, a flowerbed or even a swimming pool. He was the mind behind the ingenious, modern annexes like the ones at the Contemporary Art Center in Castellón (2004-2005) and at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Malaga (2005-2006). In 2007, he published the book “Situaciones urbanas,” in which he presented a wide variety of projects, along with their legal ramifications and social impact.

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TAGS: Recycled Culture