Producing the Contemporary City

24 May - 2 September 2007

PowerNotes #01

Caracas: The informal city

"This is not a mountain full of houses, it is a house as big as a mountain."

Caracas, foto: George Brugmans

Over the last decennia, like a magnet gone mad, Caracas, the most violent megacity on the South-American continent, has drawn in millions of migrants. Now more than four out of its six million inhabitants live in self built constructions in the barrios where only the laws of the strong rule.


Caracas: The Informal City, a film by Rob Schröder, is a portrait of a city that is rapidly becoming the prototype for the exploding urbanization witnessed above all on the African, Asian and South-American continents. Here a completely new socio-political and architectonic reality has been developing.

Shot on location in the barrios, the slums where Comandante Chavez has his powerbase, the film provides a unique perspective on the practice of the informal city. It highlights the ideas and work of architects Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner who strongly believe that the practice of the barrios points forward to architecture's only possible future: a renewed commitment with the potential of a city build by and for its inhabitants.


Caracas : The Informal City is a coproduction of VPRO Backlight, the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam and Urban Think Tank Carácas. De film is released on  DVD and is now available for pre-order at www.submarinechannel.com/shop


“Power –whether political, economic, or social – treats urban and architectural form as a means rather than an end in itself. Revealing the ways in which this power is made manifest in built form takes an essential first step for a