This app is conceived as a digital exhibition publication about Torre David and informal communities. It provides you with additional content to complement your visit of the exhibition GRAN HORIZONTE by Urban-Think Thank, Chair Brillembourg & Klumpner, ETH Zurich, shown at COALMINE Photography in Winterthur, Switzerland, from Sept 6th to Dec 20th 2013. In addition, the app is designed as an autonomous work and can act as a tool by itself for deepening your knowledge about informal vertical communities and the iconic Torre David, without the need of being physically in the exhibition.
Can cities be planned? And what happens if the planning bodies fall short or do not even exist? The modern era has produced multiple examples of dysfunctional cities. It is the inhabitants themselves who make these cities habitable and livable-in through their subsequent and ongoing adoption of the city from the bottom up: through experimentation and by putting existing structures to new uses. Self-organisation as creative strength and a place to put innovative, practical solutions to the test: for Urban-Think Tank this offers a rich area of research and the subject of the exhibition GRAN HORIZONTE at COALMINE Photography.
Torre David is the third tallest building in Venezuela. After the financial group supporting the construction of the building collapsed in the wake of the 1994 Venezuelan banking crisis, the tower was abandoned and became a magnet for squatters. Today, it is the improvised, continually revised home for more than 750 families living as a self-organized community in what some have called a vertical slum.
In the app you will find excerpts, photographs and other material from the research on Torre David by Urban-Think Tank as well as an historical background on the Torre David in form of a comic by Andre Kitagawa with Urban-Think Tank. The rich resources document the residents’ occupation of the tower and how, in the absence of formal infrastructure, they organize themselves to provide for daily needs, with a hair salon, a gym, grocery shops, and more.
Urban-Think Tank (U-TT) is an interdisciplinary design practice dedicated to high-level research and design on a variety of subjects, concerned with contemporary architecture and urbanism. The philosophy of U-TT is to deliver innovative yet practical solutions through the combined skills of architects, civil engineers, environmental planners, landscape architects, and communication specialists. In 1993, Alfredo Brillembourg founded U-TT in Caracas, Venezuela, and in 1998, Hubert Klumpner joined as co-director. Since 2010, they hold the Chair for Architecture and Urban Design at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, (ETH Zurich). Their work concerns both theoretical and practical applications within architecture and urban planning. Working in global contexts by creating bridges between first world industry and third world, informal urban areas, they focus on the education and development of a new generation of professionals, who will transform cities in the 21st century. They have been awarded many prizes, between others the 2010 Ralph Erskine, 2011 Holcim Golden Award Latin America and 2012 Holcim Global Silver Award. Urban-Think Tank was part of the Golden Lion-winning team at the 13th International Exhibition of Architecture at the Biennale of Venice for the installation, "Torre David/Gran Horizonte". COALMINE, a non-profit project space, presents exhibitions dedicated to contemporary and documentary photography. It consists of two spaces under one common roof, the Documentary Photography Forum and the Contemporary Photography Space, encompassing a wide range of photographic expressions. With its projects, COALMINE aims to support photographers in their artistic, experimental and educational ventures. In a time when photography evolves and changes constantly, COALMINE seeks to reflect on the effects and to consider the consequences.