Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner (eds.)

Torre David

Informal Vertical Communities

Torre David, a 45-story skyscraper in Caracas, has remained uncompleted since the Venezuelan economy collapsed in 1994. Between 2007 and 2014, it became the improvised home to more than 750 families living in an extra-legal and tenuous squat, that some have called a “vertical slum.”

The multi-disciplinary research group Urban-Think Tank spent a year studying the physical and social organization of this ruin-become home. Richly illustrated with photographs by Iwan Baan, their book documents the residents’ occupation of the tower and how, in the absence of formal infrastructure, they organize themselves to provide for daily needs. The authors of this thought-provoking work investigate informal vertical communities and the architecture that supports them and issue 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.

Torre David, a 45-story skyscraper in Caracas, has remained uncompleted since the Venezuelan economy collapsed in 1994. Between 2007 and 2014, it became the improvised home to more than 750 families living in an extra-legal and tenuous squat, that some have called a “vertical slum.”

The multi-disciplinary research group Urban-Think Tank spent a year studying the physical and social organization of this ruin-become home. Richly illustrated with photographs by Iwan Baan, their book documents the residents’ occupation of the tower and how, in the absence of formal infrastructure, they organize themselves to provide for daily needs. The authors of this thought-provoking work investigate informal vertical communities and the architecture that supports them and issue 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.

 Winner of the 50 Books/50 Covers Competition 2012

Edited by Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner

With photographs by Iwan Baan

Design: Integral Lars Müller

16,5 x 24 cm, 6 ½ x 9 ½ in

416 pages, 406 illustrations

hardback

2012, 978-3-03778-298-9, English
CHF 50.00

Alfredo Brillembourg

Alfredo Brillembourg (*1961 in New York) received his Bachelor of Art and Architecture in 1984 and his Master of Science in Architectural Design in 1986 from Columbia University. In 1998, he founded the Urban-Think Tank (U-TT) collective as an informal multi-disciplinary research group in his home in Altamira, Caracas. In 2001, Brillembourg invited Hubert Klumpner to co-found the U-TT NGO and later in 2007 to co-found the U-TT company in Caracas, Venezuela. In the following years, Brillembourg expanded the U-TT activities through numerous partnerships and several still-active U-TT offices. He has been a professor at the Central University of Venezuela, Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture and Planning, and from 2010 to 2019 at ETH Zurich.

Hubert Klumpner

Hubert Klumpner (*1975 in Salzburg) graduated from the University of Applied Arts in Vienna under Professor Hans Hollein. In 1995, he received a Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University in New York. In 2001, Klumpner co-founded the Urban-Think Tank (U-TT) NGO in Caracas, Venezuela, together with Alfredo Brillembourg. From 2007, he taught as a visiting professor at the Graduate School of Architecture and Planning and Preservation at Columbia University / NY, where he, together with Alfredo Brillembourg, founded the "Sustainable Living Urban Model Laboratory (S.L.U.M. Lab) ". Since 2010, Klumpner has been Professor of Architecture and Urbanism at the Department of Architecture of ETH Zurich.

Iwan Baan

Photo Iwan Baan

Iwan Baan (*1975) is a Dutch photographer based between Amsterdam and the U.S., known primarily for images that narrate the life and interactions that occur within architecture. His artistic approach has given matters of architecture an approachable and accessible voice, focusing on the perspectives of the everyday individuals who give meaning and context to the architecture and spaces that surround us. In 2012, he received the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale for his work on the Torre David in Caracas, Venezuela, gaining him further international acclaim. Architects turn to Baan to give their work a sense of place. Baan’s first major retrospective of his globally renowned oeuvre is on show at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein from 21 October 2023 – 3 March 2024.