urban planning acts on the placing of gaps in urban spaces and define
exactly what these gaps should be like: measurements, materials, positions
- but they do not define purpose because a gap is for disposing rubble
and rubbish, isnt it? The design works in different ways because
people pay the local government for their permit, and then do what they
want, or need to, with it: an urban reserve, breathing space, a meeting
point, a childrens playground, a tree plantation...
In the case of regulations on scaffolding, you can obtain a permit to
install one because you need to paint the facade of the building
you wish to contaminate. You can always produce this need by scribbling
some eye-catching graffiti on it. You then install your scaffolding and
build your new space, your own private refuge, your architecture of silence,
with whatever materials, style and rneasurements you decide. The duration
is up to you, because the architecture of silence ought to be provisional
and variable, because these are the conditions which the other architecture
(the regular sort) does not have. In the same way, there are other loopholes
or URBAN DESCRIPTIONS we can employ to remind the institution
of its inabiltity to deal with plural realities, and to point out peoples
ability-and their need- to take part in urban drift.
Strategies for subversive occupation
All realities manifest themselves with a gradient of variable factors.
If I want to talk about urban phenomena, I have to do so in terms of complexity
and difference. The paths we have to pursue to understand them cannot
reproduce the paths of conventional urban planning, as the invisible,
mutant structures which interact in the urban space create a complex fabric.
We get the impression that the various levels of complexity grow and die.
The production system, and the political and economic variables and mechanisms
which predominate in architecture make the idea of global, closed planning
The speed at which changes take place in urban space suggests specific
places and given epochs, so the design and construction of this space
constantly require regenerating mechanisms which address the particular
factors of the various places and their interaction with global changes
and systems. For institutions, the idea of a global process is an attempt
to simplify and control all possible forms of behaviour and action. My
proposal consists of perpetually redefining global systems (urban planning
and legislation), looking for possible loopholes and uncertainties which
allow the various human groups freedom of action.
Santiago Cirugeda, born 1971, has produced architectural projects, written
articles and participated in different educational and cultural contexts
(master classes, seminars, conferences, workshops, exhibitions, debates,
etc.). He is currently preparing an architectonic project in Seville,
for a cultural and visual arts centre, and is immersed in investigations
regarding emergency dwellings, developed in distinct forums such as the
Barraca BCN - a winter factory for the ETSA in Alicante. He occasionally
acts as professor in Bogotas Javeriana School.
Since 9 years, Santiago Cirugeda has developed subversive projects with
distinct ambitions in urban reality which has allowed him to endure a
complicated social life. From systematic occupation of public spaces in
containers to the construction of prostheses in facades, patios, covers
and lots, he negociates legal and illegal zones, as a reminder of the
pervasive control to which we are all subject.
He was invited to the Venice Biennale where he critically demonstrated
socio-cultural differences which nourish interventionist projects in distant
urban surroundings, and which move through issues of self-administration
and precarity to stupid frivolty.