Torre de David (the Tower of David) - the world's tallest slum and the subject of Urban-Think Tank, Justin McGuirk, and Iwan Baan's Golden Lion-winning Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2012 - is once again making headlines. Venezuelan newspaper TalCual reports that the Venezuelan government is in negotiations with Chinese banks interested in purchasing the building.
Tower of David is an unfinished financial skyscraper in downtown Caracas. Construction began on the tower in 1990, but the death of the principal investor in 1993 and the subsequent banking crisis that hit the country in 1994 froze construction; by the end of the year, the tower was in the hands of the state. Nevertheless, in 2007 two thousand homeless citizens took over and inhabited the skyscraper, making it the tallest vertical slum in the world.
Despite not having any elevators, the Tower of David is inhabited by over 5,000 people who live and work within the first 28 of the Tower's 44 floors.
The most recent announcement of a potential buyer for Torre de David is only the latest in a decade of rumored buyers and false alarms raised over the skyscraper.
As TalCual reports, the state's current negotiations with the Chinese banking consortium is headed by the Minister of State for the Revolutionary Transformation of Greater Caracas, Ernesto Villegas, and would involve the relocation of the tower's current tenants to Cúa, a city 53 kilometers outside of the capital, possibly in December this year.
Following the disclosure, the Venezuelan government announced they would be performing "an analysis of the community in order to take the steps necessary to improve the living conditions and environment" of the tower's residents.
Story written by Nicolas Valencia for Plataforma Arquitectura. Translated by Vanessa Quirk.