The Tower of David

Torre David photogtaphed by Iwan Bann

The Tower of David or Centro Financiero Confinanzas was a vertical slum and an example of bottom-up urbanism like Kowloon Walled City that existed between 2008 and 2014.

A 45 story office block (171m high) the third tallest in Venezuala the Torre David was almost finished when abandoned in 1994 due to the Venezualan banking crisis.

Over a decade later between 2008 and 2014 the building started being squatted and the population grew to at it’s height 5,000 squatters. The residents lived up to the 28th floor with many shops, beauty salons, a dentist set up there.

Urban-Think Tank an Architects group started to study the community.

U-TT began to research and document the physical and social organization of the tower, believing there was something valuable to learn from what the residents created in eight years of squatting. The community was neither a den of criminality, nor a romantic utopia. Rather, Torre David was a building that possessed the complexity of a city. It merged formal structure and informal adaptation to provide urgently needed solutions. ref

Torre David Elevation showing external walls put up by the squatterd. Photogtaphed by Iwan Bann

They wrote a book1 , set up exhibitions2, made a short film and tried to come up with more permanent solutions in support of the community to persuade the government to allow them to reside there. But they were unsuccessful and the government evicted them in 2014.

On 21st August 2018 the tower was damaged by in an earthquake. The top five floors partially collapsed and started leaning outwards.

  1. Torre David: Informal Vertical Communities by Urban-Think Tank published in 2013.↩︎

  2. TORRE DAVID / GRAN HORIZONTE at 13th Venice Architecture Biennale, Arsenale 2012. A link to this in Diversare with lots of good images.↩︎

September 25, 2023