The Showroom

'Affection as a Subversive Architectural Form' - Elvira Dyangani Ose and Raúl Muñoz de la Vega in conversation

Introduction and experts from Usted está aquí [You Are Here] by Recetas Urbanas, 2018

Elvira Dyangani Ose and Raúl Muñoz de la Vega in conversation
Excerpts from 'Usted está aquí (You Are Here)', Recetas Urbanas, 2018

Elvira Dyangani Ose and Raúl Muñoz de la Vega (Curator and Assistant Curator of Usted está aquí [You Are Here], Fundación Luis Seoane, 2018 and MUSAC, León, 2019) introduce the exhibition's publication, including essays on different aspects of the practice of architecture collective Recetas Urbanas. Other contributors include Pascal Gielen (Professor cultural sociology at the Antwerp Research Institute for the Arts), Kristine Guzmá (Director of the AA Art and Architecture MUSAC series), and architects Santiago Cirugeda and Alice Attout who share anecdotes about key projects throughout their career.

This book is the sixth volume in the series AA Arte y Arquitectura MUSAC, published by Asymmetric Editions and accompanying the eponymous exhibition at Luis Seoane Foundation and MUSAC, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León 2018-19. The project told the story of more than two decades of work by Recetas Urbanas and how they have made self-building, reusing materials, community involvement and collective design the main tools of their processes and architectural approach.


'There is something more profuse in the trajectory of Recetas Urbanas (which in Spanish means both Urban Recipes and Urban Prescriptions) than their projects: the people who intervene in them. Strangers and acquaintances. People from the neighbourhood and beyond. Faces, voices, people. The conversations, the laughter, an occasional shout... All of the above, have perhaps as much or even more presence than the rumour of drills and saws. Impromptu questions, stopping all tasks to share an opinion or to take a decision, as well as explaining the aim of a job using an anecdote. There is a rare collective intimacy, a way of building community made into a process that is established in each project. One would think that in the exercise of such form of architecture there is a challenging spontaneity, but everything is part of an orchestration, which is as meditated as it is wildly free.

The formulation of any “urban prescription” implies an act of generosity – both from the studio and each of the individuals taking part in its development – transformed into a political gesture, establishing the condition of possibility for the generation of a social space. A space that defies what was originally imposed by the political powers that regulate the public administration. A social space that vindicates our capacity to intervene, our participation role, our responsibility in the decision making process, our capacity as active agents of change. All the while, as Cirugeda establishes, joining citizen action and quality democratic management.'

Recetas Urbanas. "Affection as a Subversive Architectural Form: Elvira Dyangani Ose and Raúl Muñoz de la Vega in conversation". Usted está aquí [You are here], edited by Kristine Guzmán, MUSAC, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, 2018, pp. 27-34.


Elvira Dyangani Ose is Director of The Showroom, London. She is affiliated to the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths and the Thought Council at the Fondazione Prada. Previously, she served as Creative Time Senior Curator, Curator of the eighth edition of the Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary art, and Curator International Art at Tate Modern. She recently joined Tate Modern Advisory Council.


Raúl Muñoz de la Vega is Development Officer of The Showroom, London. He holds a Bachelor and Master in Law and Master in Art History, and has professional experience in legal alignment and cultural research at the European Parliament. He has recently engaged in curatorial projects as researcher and assistant curator involving artists such as Loulou Cherinet and Bodil Furu for the Biennial of Moving Image 2016, and Theaster Gates at Fondazione Prada among others.


Recetas Urbanas is a design and advocacy collective of architects, lawyers and social workers led by Spanish architect Santiago Cirugeda and Alice Attout, who joined in 2008. The collective is based in Seville, Spain and brings to life self-built projects that rely on local participation to realise mobile structures using locally sourced, second and third-hand materials. Their work activates different areas of urban reality globally, from creating temporary sites for community discussion with shipping containers and architectural prostheses, to implementing new social housing models in collaboration with local governments. These projects are highly functional yet legally provocative, often challenging the lawfulness surrounding the occupation of public space.Since its founding in 2003, Recetas Urbanas has worked internationally with over 2,500 individuals, hailing from different social backgrounds, abilities and ages.

Luis Seoane Foundation Exhibition

Images: Exhibition views of Usted está aquí (You Are Here), Fundación Luis Seoane, 2018. Courtesy of Fundación Luis Seoane and Recetas Urbanas

MUSAC Exhibition

Images: Exhibition views of Usted está aquí (You Are Here), MUSAC, 2019. Courtesy of MUSAC and Recetas Urbanas

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    Exhibition Recetas Urbanas: Affection as Subversive Architecture – Unauthorised Entry Permitted

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    Text Blanca Pujals: 'Bodily Cartographies: Pathologizing the Body and the City'

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