At the close of the 20th century, the global triumph of the urban condition greatly intensified many of the problems related to intervention in urban contexts (and in space) that were foreseen in previous decades by various neo-Marxist elaborations on the heterogeneous condition of space. Disciplines such as anthropology, sociology and geography plunged into spatial questions to generate new visions and tools, progressively constructing an idea of social or common space as a matter of practices, creative inhabitation and the activity of citizens. In turn, punishment was inflicted on architecture due to its inoperability in the face of complexity and the cross-cutting nature of spatial and urban problems. However, since the late 1990’s a series of professional studies has been engaged in an incessant exploration of architecture mediums as a social agent. With a critical attitude towards that which is conventional and standard, they drift further away from modern heroism and the utopia of the neo-vanguardists. Architecture is understood as an act of mediation on a variety of fronts and is susceptible to reorientation to favour social appropriation, reflection and self-criticism. However, architecture does not have the power or the duty to resolve or carry the weight of complex urban matters on its own. The work of the Office for Strategic Spaces (OSS), founded by Ángel Borrego Cubero, can be regarded as one of these modest yet ambitious extra-disciplinary approaches to urban development.
Educated and trained as an architect, Ángel Borrego Cubero has produced cross-cutting work that relies on various medium (preferably site specific installations, new media and video installations) to reflect upon complex questions such as the contemporary urban condition, the incessant negotiations between public and private spaces, spatial violence, surveillance mechanisms and fictions in architecture. It is interesting to observe how this de-normalised approach towards spatiality and urban development and even towards architecture itself, although spread across other disciplines importing “external” techniques and references, has originated from professional practice: from an office in practice. This is how constructive, material and formal questions, far from being scorned, are reinvented and nourished with creative and impartial visions of collaboration among agents, disciplines, knowledge and mediums, emphasising the role of cultural representations as co-producers of reality.