Santiago Cirugeda Parejo exploits gaps in administrative structures, governmental bodies’ supervisory energies, official procedures, and where the law falls short. As Benedicte Grosjean writes in ArchiLab’s Futurehouse (2002): “[Cirugeda] formulates realistic and empirical strategies to push the law to its limits and find pockets of non-law in which to develop a possible habitat.”
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The project “Insect-House: The Tick’s Stratagem” came about when Alameda Viva invited Cirugeda to support their act of resistance to the cutting down of trees by occupying those same trees in Seville. By following the fundamental premises of efficacious urban guerrilla, the activist-architect designed shelters that allow for immediate construction. The outside shell protects occupants from possible aggressors. The shelter’s bottom is usually 4.5 meters off the ground and provides storage space; the top has a sliding shell for protection. The implicit goal was to remind people that even if their voice is considerably quieted, they still can act and decide. They have a say. Beyond a mere ecological attitude concerning the protection of trees to be cut down, this is a strategy of opposition to plans directed, and often imposed, on the population and its style of urban life.
When asked in a November 2004 interview if he had ever been arrested, Cirugeda replied: “Yes, I was arrested when I was very young. I didn’t know what to do because I was very young and afraid. It is interesting when an artist wants to do an exhibit, art installation or anything else, he can get permission to do whatever he wants and to show it in the street. But as a citizen, even if you ask for permission, you don’t get it, because you are not an artist. Therefore, I work from a citizen’s point of view, because as an architect I can get the permission required for my installation. But really I want to be a citizen. I see architecture as a social art. I don’t want only to appear in architecture magazines that show architecture as beautiful images. I want to be a part of the other pages too, to understand what a city is and what a citizen is.
For more, see Cirugeda’s “urban prescriptions” website @ http://www.recetasurbanas.net/