Guerrilla architect

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Santiago Cirugeda is a subversive architect from Seville who has dedicated his career to reclaiming urban spaces for the public.

Can Spanish self-build legend Santiago Cirugeda turn an abandoned factory into a vibrant cultural centre?In austerity-hit Spain where the state has retreated and around 500,000 new buildings lie empty, “people are doing things their own way,” says Cirugeda. “In times of crisis, people come together to find collective solutions.”So, can Spanish self-build legend Santiago Cirugeda turn an abandoned factory into a vibrant cultural centre?

His buildings are often fast-build, mobile structures made from recycled materials. Design for Cirugeda is about matching available materials with the skills of those keen to build it. The key is that they serve a social function, which Santiago thinks contemporary architecture has lost sight of in its obsession with the aesthetic.

We follow him as he takes on his biggest task yet, saving a huge abandoned cement factory, and negotiating with the authorities to let his National Architects’ Collective turn it into a vibrant cultural centre.