Gallery: Abandoned Skyscraper in Venezuela is the World’s Tallest Shant...

Pressure for housing in the city was not being met by the private sector for fear of properties being seized by the government.

Pressure for housing in the city was not being met by the private sector for fear of properties becoming seized by the government. The government has not kept with demand for housing so the abandoned building and dozens of others in the city have become a last stand refuge for thousands.

The residents, who prefer being called neighbors rather than squatters, have turned the skeleton of the building into a functional community in which they are able to provide electricity and water for themselves. The facade is dotted with satellite TV dishes and cement block terraces. The residents keep the building relatively clean and have formed a security detail at the entrances. Astonishingly, retail has flourished in the building with a small shop on nearly every inhabited floor and other services are sprinkled throughout the building. Recreation and child care facilities have also been established.

As the government is taking a hands off approach, the remarkable and resourceful neighbors have made the best of a unique and difficult situation. Residents have taken up 28 floors so far but with no elevators, lighting or even guard rails, the limits of occupying such a space are stretching even the hardiest of them. Sewage disposal is an issue, as is a lack of protection from falling. The story of turning a high-rise into habitation for the poor and homeless has been proposed by architects like Tom Morgan with his Slumdog Superstructure but the Tower of David may be the grandest test of what the possibilities of living in such conditions really means.

Via New York Times

Images New York Times and Skyscraper City


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  1. pablada August 21, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Ask Architect Alfredo Brillemburg (family member of projecting Architect) what is so good about this “invasion” fact for it to be representing Venezuela in the next Venice’s Architecture Biennale!!! tres chic!!!

  2. Ivan Hernandez March 18, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    It is very important to study the environment of a case before issuing an opinion. That building was not rejected by the rich, and less a chic example. The current owner is the government of Venezuela, who expropriated it to a private company and then abandoned. We are far away from a social struggle. That building is the best example of anarchy in a city that has suffered the neglect of the government. There are more buildings in the same state that have been expropriated by the government and then abandoned. By the way, in Caracas there are excellent examples of modern architecture

  3. caeman March 18, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Smity, If it has been abandoned for that long and open to the environment, it might not be structurally sound enough now to complete. At least, by new construction standards.

  4. Smity March 18, 2011 at 4:50 am

    God bless these people to have the courage to live in an open tower without the basic necessities like water, toilets etc. The Government should complete the building and let the people live there legally.

  5. fundamemoria March 17, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Dear Katescot:
    In which city do you live? Maybe we can send the Torre de David over there so it can beautify your view!

  6. katescot March 17, 2011 at 2:28 am

    sorry but it is a chic example to the world of how to reclaim housing for the poor that has been wasted on the rich.

  7. fundamemoria March 16, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Great article, indeed! …but too much in love with itself. What you picture as a “Thriving Vertical Shanty Town” is not an experiment, is not a probe: is a monumental failure, the proclamation of anarchy in a city that has to be recovered one day. But, Mr. Michler: the least thing the people from Caracas want is to read in this great site is our tragedy being sold as a chic example to the world.

  8. angel.ramirez.isea March 16, 2011 at 11:31 am

    @areyoukiddingme: I never said we are a developed country. I’m rebbutting the use of the term “decline”. We are far from our goals, and we could even be going back on some indexes, but in general the term “decline” is not appropriate.

    A little research would have made for a very good article. That was all my point.

  9. angel.ramirez.isea March 16, 2011 at 11:28 am

    @electrobank: I live in Venezuela. Maracaibo, now. Caracas 2009 and 2010. Traveling all over since the 1980s. Thanks for asking.

    You don’t trust the UN? Check CEPAL’s numbers, then. Oh, wait! They show the same trends.

  10. areyoukiddingme March 16, 2011 at 2:46 am

    yes decline! are you kidding me?? re-read this article and look at the pictures. developed countries don’t look like this. is this what your eternal power mad president calls help from the government? wake up!

  11. electrobank March 15, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    @angel.Ramires.isea: Where do you live??? because i think those human developement indexes are not a reflection of our reality, it’s just an indication of how we progress and it’s ased on numbers provided by teh government that migth not be as accurate as you think…

  12. Andrew Michler March 15, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    @aprileileen I apologize and am in concurrence with your opinion that the word “infested” is inappropriate and changed it upon publication.

    @darioalvarez Thank you for the correction, the nickname is “Torre de David” but you are correct about the official designation Confinanzas Building.

  13. ehozin1 March 15, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    I’d like to know specifics of issues like electricity production and use, sewage disposal, security and child care structures, etc. This is a fascinating event, both architecturally and sociologically. As one of the most potent symbols of 20th century civilization, the skyscraper’s role continues to evolve organically and charismatically.

  14. angel.ramirez.isea March 15, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    “The decline of Venezuela”? Go check the trend of our Human Development Index (UNs web page) and then reword your “article”. Inhabitat, you just lost a daily reader.

  15. caeman March 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    The ultimate Second R (Re-Use).

  16. arquitecturas March 15, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    That´s not the “David´s Tower”, it´s the Confinanzas Building; the David´s Tower is fully funtional and operative, you can see up in your photograph, at left, the black tower, officialy “Mercantil” now

  17. aprileileen March 15, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    “Infested?” They’re people, not cockroaches. How about “occupied.”

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