One of the most famous buildings in the Spanish audiovisual culture, from the TV series “Aquí no hay quien viva”, launched in 2003. This building and its inhabitants marked heavily my childhood and early teenage years, that is why I decided to make a little space for this Stately building in my blog.
STRUCTURE OF THE DWELLING
As we already know, architecture is influenced and influences people’s lives, this is shown in the series, as the way the houses are organised and structured lets us know the characters’ personality. Even though the building faces different remodellations and movings, I will be talking about the characters and distributions that affect the series the most. We will explain it from top to bottom.
On the top floor, there is the Storage, which is mostly used as another house for those who face economical problems throughout the series.
On the third floor, there are two flats:
- The 3rd A “ Posh’s home”: where Lucía, mostly known as a daddy’s girl, lives with her boyfriend Roberto, a childish man. The house has been recently reformed and it shows the class of its owners, as it has really expensive furniture. On the other hand, the eccentric and colourful style lets us know that Roberto and Lucia are quite open-minded.
- The 3rd B “Golfas’ home”: composed by Belen and Alicia, two women in their 30’s who do not have a job or a serious relationship, expected things from people at this age. The house lacks decoration elements, like hanging painting or pictures, this is because it is a rented house and it can not be changed. As they do not have a well-paid job, all the furniture seems low-cost.
On the second floor, we can find another two flats:
- The 2nd A “President’s home”: A very traditional house, for what, at first seems, a traditional family. Juan and Paloma, and their two kids: Josemi and Natalia. The house could be referred to as tacky, but it then changes its decoration when Isabel, known as a mystic woman, moves in to start a family with Juan.
- The 2nd B “Chunga’s home”: This house is the one that changes the most, as its owners keep variating. I feel Nieves, who is Juan’s sister and is also known as “la chunga” because she is a very difficult person to deal with, was the character that influenced other neighbors the most. She is know for being quite rich, therefore her house has lots of elements that show her opulence.
On the first floor, there are two flats:
- The 1st A “Old women’ home”: This is where Vicenta, Marisa and Concha live, three ladies who love gossiping, as their door with three peepholes show. Even though they enjoy knowing everyone’s lives, they are not eager to expose themselves, that is why the organisation of their house is so convoluted, you need to surpass lots of corridors to get to the heart of the house. Its decoration is also tacky, expected from 70 year old women, and it is made fun by all the neighbors.
- The 1st B “Gays home”: Mauri and Fernando’s house. At first they were a closeted gay couple and denied all the assumptions the neighbors made, althought the house had only one bedroom. It is also a very modern house, like the 3rd A, showing us that Mauri and Fernando also have a more modern mentality, as they are not what at the moment people would have considered traditional.
On the ground floor we will find the porter, where the doorman, Emilio, lives even though it is not habitable. The house does not have a door and is separated from the portal by only a curtain. It counts with a bedroom, which does not have much furniture, a bathroom, a kitchen and a connection to the interior patio.
The Videoclub, which is connected to the entrance by a window, is a place of reunion for the people of the building, most of them being men. This place is also a representation of the weird neighbourhood, as it is a videoclub but also a type of tiny supermarket, you can buy all the entire filmography of George Lucas, a bottle of bleach and some tampons.
OTHER REUNION PLACES
Apart from the flats, the porter and the videoclub, these weird characters socialize a lot in the interior patio, which must have an exceptional quality sound, because everyone finds out what’s going on in their neighbors lives.
The portal could be also considered as a reunion place, where the different lifestyles coincide for brief moments at the entrance of the building. The big old wooden door is only closed in the first chapter, when we have not been invited yet to know the characters, from this moment onwards, the entrance door is always opened.
Desengaño 21 is a stately building, as Juan does not get tired of saying, and its external structure can not be transformed as it is preserved by the council. It is mostly made by wood, which leads to its destruction multiple times. One of them, the building gets set on fire when everyone is out, and the fire destroys part of the first floor and the interior patio, and damages the ground floor completely. Another example, that meant the complete destruction of the building and the reason why the characters had to move out was because it had termites and it was too late to solve the problem.
IMPORTANCE OF THE BUILDING
Desengaño 21 is not just a scenery where all the plot happens, the building is a character, Desengaño 21 is the main character. Most plots go around the safety or remodelling of the building, it is the first character we are presented to and its destruction is the reason why the series ends. The characters not only develop affective relationships between them, but also do so with the dwelling.
Sadly, because the reason was recorded in 2003, there are not many good pictures in the Internet that show accurately how the flats looked like.
If you enjoyed this essay, you can see this youtube video of PutoMikel who talks about the importance of the series to the spanish TV culture, developing the relationships between neighbors and building.