Barba Corsini. Arquitectura/Architecture, 1953-1995.
Galeria H2O, Barcelona 1995.
He had received the commission two years before. It was not so much the persistence of the clients, an older childless couple, as a sudden urge, that decided him, finally, to design the house. He had never believed in inspiration. For him, like for so many other creators, the work was an ongoing process, the fruit of hard toil and perseverance. Of course a donkey, however hard it tried, would never draw well. But that special quality, from the outset, that sort of tendency or innate ability, was taken for granted. However, when the image of the house took shape in his mind, suddenly compact, as if it were rising up over the cliff, dominating the bay, he had to acknowledge to himself that something foreign to work had intervened, foreign to the maturity brought by the years, or to any stroke, however brilliant, of creative lucidity.
Then came the plans and the visits to the site punctuated by the enthusiastic remarks of the owners as they saw pieces of furniture here and there, here a climbing plant, as if his pointing fingers were restless magic wands. And the house, with its semicircular plan cleft as if an earthquake had occurred causing a fault, was completed before his eyes, which were gradually losing interest. A kind of tiredness, as though to build it were useless because it had already been in his mind.
Then, publication in specialised journals. For that he wanted the best photographer, the only one possible. Only he could capture, through the reflection of reality, that sort of pulse that emanated from the house just as it had formed in his mind.
Nervously he shuffled the photos, looking for something he
knew. Yes, those forms were very good but... There it was, the photographer had placed it last, in a game of conspiracy where both, from the beginning, had known the end. His gaze ran up steps of slate. These led, slowly, constant in their interplay of light and shade, to the house. The house was the terminus, its semicircular slate wall prolonged the staircases and, at the same time, outlined against the sky, completed
them. All the mystery was there, in the house that waited at the top of the steps, timeless. As if it had always existed, as if it would always exist. The cipher for the life of a man. «I envy the way you look at things,» he told the photographer. And he, as usual, laughed in that modest way. And while the photographer talked about the surprises that Barcelona's inner courtyards could give or lifted his head to say it looked like rain, the architect thought that the house was already living two different, parallel lives. One where the seasons would
change, and the pines planted by the steps would grow, obscuring the view of the wall, of the roof outlined, sharp, against the sky. And clouds would come, and drops would start to fall, like now, their sound merging with the murmur of the waves which broke against the cliff beneath. The murmur of life. The other, where apparently nothing would happen; the pines would remain small, the house immobile and secret at the top of the steps. But gazes would come to rest on it, each different from the one before, each unveiling a different mystery above, behind the wall, at the top of the steps.