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Sky High Squat In Venezuela

Modern Ruin Buzzing With Life

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Improvisatory Resourcefulness

What can happen to an abandoned inner city high rise? 750 families can move in and live. In Caracas, Venezuela this building was standing at 45 stories, and was almost finished, when the project was left in its incomplete form following the death of its developer in 1993, and the collapse of the South American country's economy in 1994.

The entire height of the structure is only accessed with stairways, and the routes have been decorated by individuals to add a personal touch.

The residents have even integrated a church, restaurants, hair salons and tailors for public use, allowing this location to be an independent and self-sustaining community.

This example is more inspiring than tragic. There may be plenty more where this came from, if people end up needing to survive in collapsing urban environments, without jobs, without cheap energy and with bankrupt governments.

Excerpted from New York Magazine
www.nymag.com/homedesign/urbanliving/2011/caracas/

"The Torre de David was meant to be a gleaming office tower. Now itís a sky-high squat site. With no elevators...For all its improvisatory resourcefulness, the settlement represents a massive failure of civic society. After all, the government could choose at any time to make the building habitable and safe. Meanwhile, the skyscraper is a modern ruin buzzing with life, a postapocalyptic mockery of an oil-rich nationís aspirations." Iwan Baan

--Bibi Farber