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Film of the Month: Torre David

In one way or another, the third tallest building in Venezuela has been under construction for over twenty-one years — Torre David stands at an impressive 45 floors in the heart of Caracas’ former central business district, yet it is unlikely that the building will ever be finished. After the financial group supporting the construction collapsed in the wake of the 1994 Venezuelan banking crisis, the tower was abandoned and became what some have called a vertical slum. 

In 2011, the year this film was produced, it was estimated that over 750 families were living as a self-organised community in the unfinished shell of the tower. Torre David reveals the ingenuity and determination of a community to turn a ruin into a home; and presents an opportunity to consider how people can create and foster urban communities. 

Directors Daniel Schwartz and Marcus Kneer collaborated with Professor Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumper for a year-long study of the physical organisation of the tower, which resulted in the production of this short film and the book ‘Torre David: Informal Vertical Cities’ (named one of the best books of 2012 by the Financial Times).

We found this film particularly fascinating when we saw it at the Venice Biennale in 2012 – where it was awarded the Golden lion for the best exhibit – and we think that it is an interesting film that provokes questions about security, community organization and basic services in social housing during a time of crisis and could inform principles for a more formal housing solution. 

Click here to see the trailer and rent the film 

Directed by Daniel Schwartz & Markus Kneer, 2011, 22mins

Image: Still from the film. Thanks to U-TT Chair of Architecture and Urban Design

Posted in: Film Of The Month, Recent News
Date: February 29, 2016