30 years have passed since the construction of the Tower of David. Located in the heart of Caracas, David Brillembourg’s Tower of David, known also as “Torre de David” ranks among the highest vertical slums in the world.
Originally built by Jorge David Brillembourg Ortega, whom the tower is named after, it was designed to accommodate a financial emporium around Grupo Financiero Confianza, which was Venezuela’s most successful banks at the time. The initial goal for the tower was for it to turn the area into Caracas’ Wall Street.
With a height of over 190 meters, Tower A would have become the third highest building in Venezuela. The plan for the tower also included Building B, in addition to three smaller ones which were K and Z. With facilities like a helipad, shopping center, hotel and parking lot, as well as an additional 14-storey building all planned, this was undoubtedly one of the most massive projects being worked on in Latin America during that time period.
However, the plans remained unfinished due to the death of Brillembourg as a result of cancer. Just a year later, the Venezuelan banking crisis led to the termination of a multitude of institutions, which included the Confianza Group. At this point the bank intervened, and the tower was under the claim of FOGADE.
Though the work on the tower was completed by almost 70%, it witnessed neglect and disregard for a number of years. In 2001, it was put up for public auction, however with no bidder putting up the $60 million bid which was the basis of the offer, the future of the tower remained uncertain.
In the coming decades, Torre de David would continue to become a haven for swatters and vandals, with entire families making it their refuge. Over 800 families lived in the 45-storey Tower A, leading to its position as the tallest vertical slum in the world. Within the first 22 floors of the tower, a number of services such as barbershops, nurseries and dental facilities were offered. The tower’s intriguing circumstance, and the unique lifestyle of the people who inhabited it garnered international attention, with the American series “Homeland” featuring it in a chapter. The tower was also the major focus of an award-winning documentary by the Urban-Think Tank collective.
During 2014 and 2015, the Venezuelan government began evicting the swatters living on the premises. While the Chinese government has expressed interest in the revitalization of the complex, the future of the Tower of David remains uncertain.