Torre David is a 45-storey skyscraper erected in the financial district of Caracas during the oil boom of the early 1990s. Abandoned after the death of the businessman David Brillembourg in 1993 and following the subsequent collapse of the Venezuelan economy, the skyscraper was occupied, 20 years later, by a community of more than 750 families, becoming the world's tallest squat.
This controversial icon to the serious lack of housing in Caracas has been radically transformed, in the Corderie dell'Arsenale, into an experimental platform exploring "informal" housing. Sounds, videos and pictures on the walls and, more importantly, the spontaneous participation of the Biennale public who invited to consume arepas and other Venezuelan culinary delights, introduce visitors, with no filters, to the lively and chaotic atmosphere of the slum.
The installation traces the theme of "common ground" in the direct dialogue triggered between the authentic social space of the restaurant and that of the emblematic "vertical community" of Caracas.
McGuirk and Urban-Think Tank successfully open a lively debate on the subject of informal settlements, tacitly recognised by public administrations as the only possible immediate solution.