Having a broad range of methods available for implementing unitary operations is crucial for quantum information tasks. We study a dissipative process commonly used to describe dissipatively coupled systems and show that the process can lead to pure unitary dynamics on one part of a bipartite system, provided that the process is strong enough. As a consequence of these findings, we discuss within the framework of quantum control theory how the dissipative process can enable universal control of the considered part, thereby turning parts of the system into a system capable of universal quantum information tasks. We characterize the time scales necessary to implement gates with high fidelity through the dissipative evolution. The considered dissipative evolution is of particular importance since it can be engineered in the laboratory in the realm of superconducting circuits. Based on a reservoir that is formed by a lossy microwave mode we present a detailed study of how our theoretical findings can be realized in an experimental setting.