Formal vs. Informal

Caracas is a hill town in the metropolis; highways, tunnels and bridges are some of the main elements that constitute the city.

Located in a valley of 15 km long, Caracas is a place where gasoline is cheaper than water, a city with no common political base and a place where more people live, work and die in the informal part than in the formal part of the city.

Caracas is constantly on the move; its growth is exponential. People from the barrios build the formal city during the day and the informal during the night.

While the architects of the mountain are building in a “nomad style” overnight, upper- class inhabitants live in fear in modern and protected building blocks.

Contrast

Contrast is the term that defines this city the most: vertical vs. horizontal, public vs. private, shacks vs. tower blocks, wealth vs. misery, formal vs. informal, rural vs. urban… An unequal city with an urgent need to become equal.

It is needed a connection between the formal city and the informal one and an analysis of the spaces that divide both. Barrios need to be integrated into the formal city and vice versa. And the most powerful parts are the interstices that divide them.

Dwellers go down the hill to become market vendors  while inhabitants of the formal city use these areas either to use the public transport or pass nearby to reach their cars.

Petare is one of the most dense barrios of Caracas, having more than 1 million inhabitants. I will concentrate within this area at the bottom of the hill, where a main road and a square divide the barrio and the formal city.

Teenagers and children are the future of the barrio and they should be educated properly and not be excluded by others citizens, who identify slum dwellers as “the others”. This collective of people needs a place for them as a way of escaping from routine (school- family- work) and spare time, which is what provokes them to get into drugs, delinquency and violence.

The aim is to strengthen cultural networks, connect groups of people and emphasize the cultural potential of the barrios in these interstitial areas. The aim being to unify the whole city together through art, culture and music, creating a prototype building, which can be replicated and integrated in multiple “in between” spaces throughout Caracas.

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