Informal Vertical Communities
Torre David, a 45-story skyscraper in Caracas, has remained uncompleted since the Venezuelan economy collapsed in 1994. Today, it is the improvised home to more than 750 families living in an extra-legal and tenuous squat, that some have called a ‘vertical slum’. Urban-Think Tank spent a year studying the physical and social organization of this ruin-become home. Richly illustrated with photographs by Iwan Baan, Torre David: Informal Vertical Communities documents the residents’ occupation of the tower and how, in the absence of formal infrastructure, they organize themselves to provide for daily needs, with a hair salon, a gym, grocery shops, and more. Including contributions from Andres Lepik, André Kitagawa, Arno Schlueter, and Christian Schmid, this thought-provoking work not only investigates informal vertical communities and the architecture that supports them, but also issues a call for action: to see in informal settlements a potential for innovation and experimentation, with the goal of putting design in service to a more equitable and sustainable future.