A Day in the Life of the Most Unusual Building in Caracas

The unfinished corporate skyscraper has been a squat for thousands of locals since 2007.

Image
Reuters

Originally built as the Confinanzas Financial Center, the Caracas skyscraper now known as the "Tower of David" (named after its original developer, David Brillembourg) has sat unfinished since 1994.

A real estate victim of a national banking crisis, the 45-story structure sat idle (28 floors are inhabitable) before eventually becoming a home for thousands of squatters.

Since 2007, an estimated 3,000 Caraqueños live inside, shelling out a $32 monthly condo fee of sorts, which helps pay for security. The building has a violent reputation but residents tell Reuters that new leadership has kicked out most of the troublemakers. Occupants who violate the building's rules are given service duties as determined by a co-operative.

Many inside the Tower of David relocated from other, far more dangerous slums around the city. One woman who moved into the nearly 25-year old glass tower tells Reuters, "there is far more order and far less crime in here than out there."

Earlier this year, Reuters photographer Jorge Silva explored one of the world's most unique slums, getting an incredible, up-close look at how residents inside the unfinished skyscraper live their daily lives:

A skyscraper known as the "Tower of David" is seen in Caracas January 31, 2014. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva)
A skyscraper known as the "Tower of David" is seen in Caracas February 5, 2014.
Clothes hang to dry at the top of the "Tower of David" skyscraper in Caracas February 3, 2014. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva)
Children play in the lobby of the "Tower of David" skyscraper in Caracas January 29, 2014. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva)
Boys play basketball in a garage at the "Tower of David" skyscraper in Caracas February 3, 2014. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva)
A man, who is on his way to work, walks through the lobby of the "Tower of David" skyscraper in Caracas February 5, 2014.
Reyes smokes a cigar outside his shop inside the "Tower of David" skyscraper in Caracas February 3, 2014. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva)
A woman looks out of a window at her shop in a corridor inside the "Tower of David" skyscraper in Caracas February 6, 2014. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva)
Francisco, 18, cooks in his apartment inside the "Tower of David" skyscraper in Caracas February 9, 2014. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva)
Jose Aular poses next to a portrait of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez in his apartment inside the "Tower of David" skyscraper in Caracas February 6, 2014. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva) 
Thais Ruiz, 36, talks on the telephone and drinks coffee as she sits under a crack in the roof of her living room on the 27th floor of the "Tower of David" skyscraper in Caracas February 6, 2014. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva)
Nicolas Alvarez speaks on the telephone in his apartment on the 27th floor of the "Tower of David" skyscraper in Caracas February 5, 2014. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva)
Adriana Gutierrez and her son Carlos Adrian watch TV as they sit on their bed in their 24th floor apartment inside the "Tower of David" skyscraper in Caracas February 3, 2014. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva)
Men sit and look down at a basketball court inside the "Tower of David" skyscraper in Caracas February 3, 2014. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva)
Gabriel Rivas, 30, lifts weights on a balcony on the 28th floor of the "Tower of David" skyscraper in Caracas February 9, 2014. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva) 
A woman walks on a roof of the "Tower of David" skyscraper in Caracas February 3, 2014. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva)
Men salvage metal on the 30th floor of the "Tower of David" skyscraper in Caracas February 3, 2014. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva)
The city is seen from the 44th floor of the "Tower of David" skyscraper in Caracas February 9, 2014. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva) 
Teenagers chat on the 10th floor of the "Tower of David" skyscraper in Caracas February 3, 2014. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva) 
A view of the lobby from the top of the "Tower of David" skyscraper in Caracas February 3, 2014. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva)

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