Cirugeda began his practice while still a student in 1997, while still a student, examining how and why the formal structure of the city – zoning ordinances and building codes – seemed constructed in such a way as to enhance and promote investment opportunities in the city while simultaneously leaving most middle-income and lower-income residents displaced or without the amenities necessary to create neighborhoods.
The projects of Recetas Urbanas exploit loopholes in civic law to create community gathering space, playgrounds, and other civic amenities which the city is unwilling or unable to provide. Through this work, Recetas Urbanas adds a secondary layer of provocation: by providing these amenities through novel means, the group calls attention to the absence of such amenities, as well as to the fact that subversion is necessary to achieve them.
Most recently, Recetas Urbanas has confronted the effects of the mortgage and dispossession crisis in Spain. Through its current work, Recetas Urbanas also works with Arquitectura Colectiva, an international association of about 80 collectives of artists, architects, and hackers.
We had an opportunity to have an extended conversation with Recetas Urbanas’s founder Santiago Cirugeda on Social Design Insights. Listen to Episode 5 | Flirting with Illegality.