squatter high-rise in Caracas


In yesterday’s New York Times, check out this amazing story about 2500+ squatters living in an unfinished skyscraper in Caracas.

(I have no idea whether the Brillembourgs are related – I imagine this may be a common name – but how incredible would it be if one Brillembourg is the “brash financier” behind the formal empire, and a relative (the author of this week’s “Failure of the Formal”) tries to develop a design practice around upgrading the informal cities that crop up in its wake?)


1 Comment»

  duncan wrote @

Came here to post this article. This bit caught my attention:

“That building is a symbol of Venezuela’s decline,” said Benedicto Vera, 55, an activist in downtown Caracas. “What’s our future if our people are living like animals in unsafe skyscrapers?” Yet squatters, who live on 28 stories and plan to go higher, have created a semblance of order within the skyscraper they now call their own.

The author so neatly ties both ends of the slum discourse: society devolving toward the animal kingdom or creatively micro-self-organizing? The fact such poles are so often contrasted makes me skeptical of both claims. If “the power of powerlessness” does lie in anarchic creativity, in the space for unregulated invention on the margins, then why, in that supposed disorder, is the tendency toward the forming a collective and self-regulating?


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