Centro Financiero Confinanzas

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Centro Financiero Confinanzas
Centro Financiero Confinanzas Chavez Vive 2014.jpg
Centro Financiero Confinanzas draped with banners saying "Chávez Lives" in 2014.
General information
Status Incomplete
Type Office
Hotel
Aparthotel
Location Caracas, Venezuela
Construction started 1990
Estimated completion 1994
Owner Corpolago C. A.
Height
Roof 190 m (620 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 45
Floor area 121.741 m² (1310.41 sq ft)
Design and construction
Architect Enrique Gómez and Associates.
Developer J. David Brillembourg.
Structural engineer Brewer and Brewer Engineers S.C.

Centro Financiero Confinanzas, also known as Torre de David (the Tower of David), is an unfinished skyscraper in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. It is the third highest skyscraper in the country after the twin towers of Parque Central Complex. The construction of the tower began in 1990 but was halted in 1994 due to the Venezuelan banking crisis. As of 2016, the building remains incomplete and unused.

History[edit]

Construction and banking crisis[edit]

This tower in downtown Caracas is nicknamed "Torre de David" after David Brillembourg, the tower's main investor who died from cancer in 1993. During the banking crisis of 1994, the government took control of the building and it has not been completed since. The building lacks elevators, installed electricity, running water, balcony railing, windows and even walls in many places.[1] The complex has six buildings: El Atrio (Lobby and conference room), Torre A that is 190m tall and stands at 45-stories still includes a heliport, Torre B, Edificio K, Edificio Z, and 12 floors of parking.

In 2001, the Venezuelan government made the attempt to auction off the complex, though no one made an offer.[2]

Residence by squatters[edit]

In the 2000s and 2010s, Caracas suffered from a housing shortage, with shortages amounting to about 400,000 Caracas homes in 2011. Construction of homes halted in Venezuela due to the fears of expropriations that occurred under the Bolivarian government while the government was also unable to build enough homes for Venezuelans. Citizens of Caracas soon began to occupy buildings surrounding the complex.[1]

Exterior of Centro Financiero Confinanzas (Torre de David) in December 2013.

The housing shortage led to occupation of the complex by squatters led by ex-convicts in October 2007, with over 200 families, representing about 40% of Caracas' "informal communities", taking over the center.[1][2][3] Residents have improvised basic utility services, with water reaching all the way up to the 22nd floor.[3] They could use motorcycles to travel up and down the first 10 floors, but had to use the stairs for the remaining levels.[3] The residents lived up to the 28th floor, with many bodegas[1] and even an unlicensed dentist[1] also operating in the building. Some residents even had cars, parked inside of the building's parking garage.[1][4][5][6]

The population grew to seven hundred families made of over 2,500 residents living in the tower by 2011[4][5] and had a peak population of 5,000 squatters.[2]

Relocation[edit]

On 22 July 2014, the Venezuelan government launched so-called "Operation Zamora 2014" to evacuate hundreds of families from the tower and relocate them into new homes in Cúa, south of Caracas, as part of its Great Housing Mission project.[7][8][9][10] By June 2015, all of the residents were relocated to their new homes.[2] Some of the government-provided homes designated for relocated tower residents were already occupied by squatters who had taken over the government facilities.[2]

Possible future[edit]

Alfredo Brillembourg, relative of the late David Brillembourg who was a main investor of the tower, founded Urban Think Tank, which call on international attention for developing "informal settlements".[5] The group made a documentary on how to make potential improvements with the complex which won a Golden Lion at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale of the Venice Biennale.[2]

After relocation had proceeded in July 2014, newspaper Tal Cual reported that Chinese banks were interested in buying the tower and renovating it for its original use.[9][11] On July 23, 2014, President Nicolás Maduro announced that the government had not yet decided what to do with the building, but was considering at least three possible options: "Some are proposing its demolition. Others are proposing turning it into an economic, commercial or financial center. Some are proposing building homes there. ...We're going to open a debate."[12][13] In April 2015, the head of the government of the Capital District, Ernesto Villegas, announced that the tower would be used temporarily as a center for emergency care. Villegas indicated that members of the National Guard, Fire Department, and officials from the Directorate of Civil Protection would be installed in the building to serve the public.[14]

However in April 2016, it was reported that the Chinese bank proposal fell through and that the tower was not in use.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

  • Torre David, a documentary by Urban Think Tank, won a Golden Lion at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale.[2]
  • In 2013, the book Torre David: Informal Vertical Communities, a study of the tower, was released.[5]
  • "Tower of David", a 2013 episode of the US television drama Homeland, was set in the building (but filmed in Puerto Rico).[15]
  • In May 2014, the tower was featured in the BBC World News documentary, Our World.[16][17]
  • The novel "Damnificados" by JJ Amaworo Wilson, published by PM Press in 2016, is based on the occupation of the Tower of David.
  • "Ruina"The feature documentary about internal life and organization of Torre David

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Romero, Simon; María Eugenia Díaz (1 March 2011). "CARACAS JOURNAL; In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find 45-Story Walkup". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Berg, Nate (24 April 2016). "Inside The Tower of David, Venezuela’s Vertical Slum". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 24 April 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c Mead, Derek. "Inside Caracas' Tower of David, the World's Tallest Slum". Vice. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Grant, Will (18 December 2010). "Venezuelan squatters bank on the future in office tower". BBC Online. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Anywhere but Here: Deserted Banking Empire turned Skyscraper Slum". MessyNessyChic. Retrieved 24 April 2016. 
  6. ^ "The world’s tallest slum: Rare look at an illegal ghetto in the sky". Vocativ. 2013-08-01. 
  7. ^ Noticias24, Redaccion (2014-07-21). "Reubican a 77 familias que habitaban en la Torre de David: “Esta es la patria que promueve Maduro”". Noticias24 (in Spanish). Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  8. ^ Lopez, Virginia (23 July 2014). "Caracas's Tower of David squatters finally face relocation after eight years". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  9. ^ a b "Venezuela moves squatters from 'Tower of David' slum". Reuters. 22 July 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2014.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  10. ^ "Venezuela Tower of David squatters evicted". BBC. 22 July 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2014. 
  11. ^ "TalCualDigital.com: The Tower of David". talcualdigital.com (in Spanish). 2014-07-08. Retrieved 2014-07-24. 
  12. ^ "Venezuela's world-famous 'vertical slum' may be demolished". Reuters. 2014-07-23. Retrieved 2014-07-24. 
  13. ^ "Gobierno estudia tres opciones para el futuro de la Torre de David". el-nacional.com (in Spanish). 2014-07-23. Retrieved 2014-07-24. 
  14. ^ "Prevén usar Torre Confinanzas como centro de atención de emergencia". El Universal. El Universal. 20 April 2015. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  15. ^ "Homeland" Tower of David (TV Episode 2013) - IMDb
  16. ^ "BBC - Programmes". BBC. Retrieved 2015-08-30. 
  17. ^ "Venezuela's Tower of David - BBC News". BBC News. Retrieved 2015-08-30. 

External links[edit]