I wrote an article about the same topic in 2008, but it seems worth re-evoking the very interesting practice of Recetas Urbanas (Urban Prescriptions in Spanish). Created by Santiago Cirugeda this office is situated in Seville and insert a part of its project in the ambiguous folds of the city’s construction code. In fact, I always refer to Cirugeda’s work as something in between the important works of Teddy Cruz who negotiate with the Institution to achieve legal projects and of Max Rameau who requisitions Miami’s speculative land to compose homeless’ villages. This practice requires an exhaustive knowledge of the legal frame of the environment it registers in.
Explaining the approach of a project like ANDAMIOS (photo 2) is highly illustrative of this attitude. Seville’s urban code allows oneself to set up a scaffolding on one’s facade in order to repaint it (maybe because of a graffito on it for example). As long as this operation is backed by a licensed architect who can sign the health and safety form, one could then install an additional balcony to his apartment during this same duration:
BUILDING YOURSELF AN URBAN RESERVE
1.Apply in your local Urban Planning office (or similar) to the license of a minor alteration to paint the facade of the building to which you want to fix yourself, in which you want to inlay, against which you want to lean, or simply which you want to enlarge.
1.A.The degree of heritage protection of the building may force you to sign you will stick to the existing color, but that should not bother you.
1.B.If the facade does not need a coat of paint you can make a few color loud paintings on it to justify the re-painting of it.
2.Ask a friend or relation, who should be an architect (there are plenty), to sign the scaffolding project, together with the preliminary health and safety plan. This is very simple project and can be easily copied. When it comes to talk about wages, a few beers will do.
3-With the paid minor alteration license (some 3000 pts / 18€) and the local authorities permit for the project (some 4000 pts. / 24€), we can actually apply to the license for placing the scaffold, because, although it is true you must define how long will the works take, you can obtain it without a tick in the appropriate box and so make it last indefinitely (experience backs me up). Anyway, i am personally interested in few-months-stays, so i can install myself in different places one after the other and keep the temporary character of it. (such attribute frightens the architect’s guild).
4.Design your own urban reserve using your favorite materials and styles.
5.Once you have the license (approx. One month after) install the scaffolding together with the reserve.
This example is not the most social project Recetas Urbanas has been working on but it is probably the most illustrative. In the same spirit, the reader would be maybe interested to read about other projects like KUVAS SC (mobile playgrounds photo 1), CASA ROMPECABEZAS (temporary house in a vacant lot, photo 3), MAD’03 (another vacant lot occupation, photo 4), CASA INSECTO (shelter attached to a tree, photo 5) and PRÓTESIS INSTITUCIONAL 1 (desinstitutionalized cultural space, photo 6)