After visiting the different “homes” we walk out into the courtyard and into a different system. How does this large open air square influence the dynamics of Casa GANDIABLASCO? It mirrors the vital role that a heart plays in a body. Nevertheless, in other ways the courtyard represents the organisational, psychosocial and humanist superstructure of Casa GANDIABLASCO. It establishes the grounds for plurality and coexistence, the “polis” and the “civitas” of Antiquity. Yet this construction lives, breathes and evolves in the present.
We’re welcomed by Sansón, standing on his huge hind quarters and giving us warm XL size hugs (he must not know he’s a dog and, even less, a Saint Bernard). “Sansón, if you get in the way I’ll have to tie you up,” warns José Gandía-Blasco. Enter Murphy’s Law. The dog could mess things up, and he does. Shaded by a lemon tree, he listens attentively to his master’s voice, even when his words aren’t directed at him: “I want this courtyard to be for everyone,” says José Gandía-Blasco. “Woof! Woof!,” Sansón protests, as if to say ‘The courtyard’s mine!’
When you sort out the problem of dealing with productive and leisure time, you realise there is time for everything. This space recuperates the forgotten art of conversation; it echoes the agora of ancient Greece, the quintessential public space. How wonderful to find this real courtyard in a real house in a real village (even though the country seems less real by the day).
The chiringato (a word put together mixing two Spanish terms: chiringuito (kiosk) + gato (cat) -the corporate anagram) is a reflection of the courtyard, an invitation to chill out in the garden or terrace. It is a symbol of the easygoing, super cool spirit, the deepest dimension of the homo ludens. In fact, the courtyard is home to barbecues, it’s where the media improvise sets and where people plunge into the pool when least expected. A lemon tree, an orange tree and a laurel add a lot to the scene. Life does not have to be that complicated.
In the courtyard one feels the chemistry of the place and infers the infinite possibilities. Yet the script is still unwritten, the tale does not end here, it’s only just beginning. One learns to inhabit Casa GANDIABLASCO just like one learns to live in one’s skin. No instruction manual, you learn on the go.