A LANDMARK of Spain’s guerilla architecture is to close four years after its construction.
Radical architect Santiago Cirugeda announced the first self-built independent arts space in Sevilla is to be closed as he switches his focus to other projects.
La Carpa (the big top) in downtown Sevilla was created in 2010 when Cirugeda teamed up with theatre director Jorge ‘Bifu’ Barroso to turn disused land into a performance space.
The building’s spider-like structure became a well-known fixture in the city.
To gain the land needed for La Carpa, Barroso spent a year living on site without running water and electricity to secure their claim to it.
The group of architects known as Recetas Urbanas is famous in design circles all over Spain for offering their expertise of navigating – and often exploiting – Spain’s complicated planning bureaucracy to low-cost, self-build projects.
Along with Cirugeda, Recetas Urbanas is supported by dozens of radical architects, interns and volunteers collaborating on self-build projects to help social or activist groups.
Spain’s economic crisis combined with a complicated planning system has seen half a million half-built properties abandoned, providing the motivation for Cirugeda to continue with his work.
One example of Cirugeda’s work is the Fabrica de Toda La Vida on the site of an abandoned, Franco-era cement factory in the south-western city of Badajoz – where he helped a group of local artists and graduates turn the factory’s derelict warehouses into artists’ studios.
A documentary about the guerilla architect can be viewed on the Al Jazeera English website and is the first in the Rebel Architecture series.