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Tower of David: Tallest Slum in the World

Tower of David: Tallest Slum in the World

The Tower of David or Torre de David, more officially known as Centro Financiero Confinanzas is currently the second tallest (third tallest if we consider The Parque Central Complex as two different buildings) building in Venezuela. The building is situated in the capital of Venezuela, Caracas. The building made the headlines for being the tallest slum or the tallest skyscraper which is actually a slum.

Some Facts about the Tower

A man lifts weights on a balcony on the 28th floor

The complex or building as of 2013 stands at a height of 190 meters or 620 feet. The building comprises of 45 floors and the total floor area occupied by this building is near about 121 square meters. The main architects of the building were Enrique Gómez and Associates. Brewer and Brewer Engineers S.C were responsible for being the structural engineers of this colossal building. The main developer or investor of this building was J. David Brillembourg. Nearly 3000 people call this building their home and reside happily in the Tower of David. The building due to its great height and inhabitance of squatters has been given the title of ‘world’s tallest vertical slum’. The building has a helipad which is still intact after all these years.

Current Status

The current status of the building is that it is still not complete, because after the construction began in 1990 the construction of the building was halted in the year 1994 due to the great Venezuelan Bank Crisis in which several banks were taken over by the government. The building at present lacks elevators, water supply, electricity, windows and even walls in some places.


Men rest after salvaging metal on the 30th floor of the Tower of David skys

The name of the tower is quite fascinating and to some it might appear that there might be some story related to the bible character of David involved in the naming of the tower but the actual reason why this tower was named as the tower of David was because of its main investor who was David Brillembourg, who died in the year 1993. In the year 1994, due to the catastrophic Venzuelan Bank crisis which shook the whole Venezuelan economy by its roots, the building came under the direct control of the government and the government has made no efforts to restore completion work till now. The president at the time when squatters invaded this building was Hugo Chavez, who turned a blind eye towards the whole incident.

Life in the Tower of David

Children play in the corridors

The building has been a ray of hope for people who cannot afford housing in a city like Caracas. Due to the presence of housing shortage in Caracas, the building has become a home to many squatters. The state in which the building was found before these people became inhabitants of this building was quite horrendous and didn’t have any basic amenities, but since these squatters have taken over, the condition of the building has slightly improved given their inadequacy to spend a lot of money on repair and maintenance work. The building now has water reaching all the way upto the 22nd floor and amazingly the residents of this building can use motorcycles to travel upto the first 10 floors but have to use the staircase after that. The residents have occupied almost all the floors till the 28th floor of the building. The building even provides shelter to an unlicensed dentist. The initial days when people were making their move to this tower were quite tough for the current inhabitants of this tower because people had to spend months in tents but with the passage of time people have developed their style of living here and now almost everyone lives in better homes. It has been reported that some residents even park their cars in the parking garage of the building. The residents have somehow made arrangements to electricity and other basic necessities in this building.

The building has corridors where children can usually be seen playing. The building even houses a basketball court right at the ground floor. Even though the building does not have any proper lifts, elevators or other mediums for making a person reach the higher floors, if a person does reach the upper end of the building somehow, he is sure to experience some gusting wind on his face. The building is after all, is one of the tallest buildings in Venezuela and does not fail to provide a scenic view of the beautiful skyline which Caracas possesses.

People who live in the Tower of David don’t just live there, but they have also opened different type’s sources of income for themselves. The tower has a few warehouses, beauty parlors and even a few day-care centers. Inhabitants of the tower help themselves by working in all these places of work and earn their daily bread. Even though the people have tried their level best to provide themselves with the best environment they can afford for themselves, one cannot ignore the fact that the building does not have a proper sewage system, well lit lights and some recent migrants to this building have to live in tents and hammocks. The building is quite unsafe for families with young children. A girl once fell to her death after falling from a high floor of the building.

One might not think of the Tower of David as a place worth seeing but one can surely not ignore the ‘Tallest Slum in the World’.

About samuel augustin

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