Inspired by squats and loft living, interdisciplinary design practice Urban Think Tank has designed a building constructed on top of existing structures, providing homes that can be developed over time.
Urban Think Tank was founded in 1993 by architect Alfredo Brillembourg and since then the award-winning practice has dealt with sustainable development worldwide. Based in Caracas, a city of paradoxes, where gasoline is cheaper than drinking water, the company has had its work cut out. The area boasts an astounding five municipalities, Baruta, El Hatillo, Chacao, Libertador and Sucre, all of opposing political standing; each led by a different Mayor. It’s a disjointed situation and, unsurprisingly, the environment is often conflicted. However, this makes for creative and changeable situations, and Brillembourg, together with U-TT Director Hubert Klumpner, is dedicated to pioneering projects that will help unite the city.
“Our work is aimed at reversing the top-down hierarchy of governance in the public sphere in favor of bottom-up, locally driven action,” states U-TT, continuing, “Ideal situations do not concern us. Our work is about avoiding catastrophes.”
While there have been many ventures since 1993, one project that epitomizes U-TT’s goal of ‘creating consciousness through concrete’ came about in 2004. Inspired by squatting and New York lofts of the 1980s, St. Mary Anglican Church grew from a simple yet original concept: to construct a tower for emergency housing across and above existing buildings
To read the rest of this article, see p28 of the Summer (2011) edition of de magazine – available online. Alternatively, visit our store to purchase a printed copy of the magazine or order a subscription.
The magazine is also available to buy at selected outlets listed here.