Translation for 140 languages by ALS
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowline.
Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sail.
Explore. Dream. Discover
---Mark Twain


Torre David at Aedes Gallery (BERLIN)


In Prenzlauer Berg at the Aedes Gallery is an exhibit on the phenomenon of Venezuela's Torre David.

Built during the booming early nineties when Venezuela found itself rich in natural oil and appeared to be formidable on the world stage, Torre David, nicknamed after investor David Brillembourg (some sources also list him as the  architect) was intended to be the flagship of Caracas' financial district. But instead of a Latino Wall Street it became the only skyscraper in the world with no elevators!

That's because, four years in and 90% complete, Sr Brillembourg up and died -- followed soon by the nation's banks. The gov't took it over -- but let it sit abandoned for over a decade. Then poor people thought, Wtf? I don't have a house, and, in short order, hordes of them wandered into it and began squatting. Thus Torre David went from being one visionary's gem, to an unavoidable eye-sore, to the largest vertical slum or, according to Urban-Think Tank, a living model of a social cooperative. There's some merit to that latter claim: residents have installed running water and sewage systems, bodegas (mom & pop stores,) building security, basketball courts and, of course, televisions. No matter how poor a ghetto is there are always working televisions! It's telling that Hugo Chavez, for all of his populist rhetoric, never troubled himself to complete the Centro Financiero Confianzas,  as it was to officially be called, but, instead, let it become a skyscraper cum slum. But, unlike most slums, Torre David is one in which its residents take a great deal of pride in calling home.
Here are snapshots from the exhibit at the Aedes Gallery:

  home sweet home
"Bogota = 11,163 per sq mile"
precisely why NYC and Paris rank low on my ideal cities
and I have scant interest in visiting any of the other ones

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