Tower of David Vacated

The Vertical Favela


Having packed up whatever few belongings they had, the illegal residents of Torre de David in Caracas had to come down the stairs. There were no protests heard, not even from those who had been occupying the top floor, the 44th. After all, they had never used the elevator. Neither had they been living with electricity and running water. Since 2007, in an occupation tolerated by the Chavist government, seventy-seven families had been inhabiting this concrete skeleton, finding no better shelter than this vertical slum. Now that, on orders of the same government, they have had to vacate the tower and transfer to some public tenements, it is good to review the brief history of an edifice which, rising 200 meters, strikes a figure in the horizon of the Venezuelan capital.

When construction began back in 1990, few imagined that Latin America’s eighth tallest skyscraper – the tower of the magnate David Brillembourg – would in the wake of his death and the definitive suspension of works, end up becoming a modern ruin. The matter would have faded into oblivion without the invasion of the families, a total of 2,000 people, and without the tower’s appearance in a chapter of the television series Homeland, before the studio Urban Think Tank won the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale with an installation inspired in the building, to the indignation of some Venezuelans who thought it opportunist. Now a more presentable new life awaits the tower, thanks, most probably, to the input of Chinese capital.

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