elii [oficina de arquitectura]



Strange stories of mutant inhabitants



Intervenciones periódicas en los patios de Conde Duque, Madrid

The proposal consists of a series of periodic interventions in the courtyards of the Conde Duque Cultural Centre using street furniture installations that make flexible use of the space. The project starts off with the story of the Conde Duque itself and takes it to the creation of a "fictionized" intallation. The tales of the Conde Duque make up a sort of "script" of the past that becomes the starting point for writing a new "script" for the present and future of the Centre, using the courtyards as "stages".

The interventions will successively present characters called the Machanguitos (Silly-billies), new inhabitants of the Centre who little by little begin to populate its outdoor spaces, inviting visitors to acknowledge the Conde Duque in other ways.

The project develops in four phases, the first two of which have already been accomplished: (1) Literary workshop. The first phase delved into the histories and tales of the Conde Duque, paying special attention to the imaginaries regarding living with monstrosity. This literary workshop was led by the writer and cultural critic Eva Cid, who offered a set of creative exercises to start imagining the Machanguitos. (2) Formalization of the Machanguitos. After the literary workshop, the design team transposed the beings dreamed up at the round tables to new "creatures" that will inhabit Conde Duque. With their hybrid bodies and mysterious presence, these beings will spark the visitors' curiosity, inviting them to interact with them. (3) Technical development. In the next phase, technical documentation will be drafted that will enable producing the first character in the form of street furniture, as per the needs of the Centre. (4) Dramaturgy. Based on a series of activities, the first Machanguitos will gradually begin popping up in the Conde Duque courtyard, conforming a kind of deferred dramaturgy.

The first Machanguito is a mutant being made up of an aggregate of different bodies. The whole has a very singular, changing shape. It has two basic pieces whose geometry lets them be combined in different ways, or compactly stacked for storage when the courtyards are used for other programs. The scale of the pieces is defined by the dimensions of the walkways through the Centre, which lets them be placed in different areas of the building and makes them easy for maintenance staff to handle. It comes with a set of complementary accessories to adapt each deployment to different programs.


1. Other stories. The architecture is constructed based on (other) stories and narratives. 

Fictions are (also) architectural materials.

2. Strangeness. The mysterious presences invite us to approach, touch and interact with these bizarre bodies.

Points of relation for unexpected encounters.

3. Ambiguity. Some hard to identify figures made of strange materials and that we must explore with our different bodies.

Nameless things, representations without antecedents.

4. Flexible systems. By controlling the geometry, multiple combinations of the pieces can be deployed.

Possibilitating limts, mutant bodies.

5. Instructions. Can we imagine furniture that does not instruct, but would rather be instructed?

Multiple un-foldings, care for power/strength/potency.

6. Storylines. Characters that appear unexpectedly.

Unforeseen deferred dramaturgies.



  • elii [oficina de arquitectura]
  • Architects 
  • elii – Uriel Fogué + Eva Gil + Carlos Palacios
  • Architect coordinating the team
  • elii –  Lucía Fernández
  • Colaborators
  • elii - Lucía Fernández, Ana López, Teresa Martínez, Sofía Iatrou, Stefania Rasile, Fran Toré
  • Literary workshop
  • Eva Cid
  • Coordination of literary workshop
  • elii –  Lucía Fernández
  • Model
  • CTRL X
  • Developer
  • Centro Cultural Conde Duque
  • Resident curator  
  • Javier Martín-Jiménez
  • Artistic coordination  
  • Olivia Rico Cubells, Carmina Gustran
  • Surface area:
  • One module = 5,00m2.
  • Date:
  • Literary workshop: From April 19 to 23, 2021  
  • Preliminary plan: July 2021
  • Location:
  • South courtyard. Conde Duque Cultural Centre