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Caracas Urban Think Tank (CCSTT)
Hubert Klumpner & Alfred Brillembourg
www.ccstt.org
participants

In this international and interdisciplinary project, the German Government, through the Kulturstiftung des Bundes, sponsors the Caracas Urban Think Tank in this research programme that takes the city of Caracas as its case study. Its aim is to understand the city of Caracas as a model of the current critical situation that Latin American cities confront.The starting point of this initiative is the recognition of the overwhelming presence and development of the so called "informal city" that today is evidenced in Latin American megalopolises. Its effects have appeared particularly in times of economical crisis, being many times so strong that even parts of the formal city get consumed and swallowed.

CARACAS AS CASE STUDY
Informal cultural processes and patterns in Caracas bring significant clues to understand its real urban character and they could deeply change the way we see the past and future of the city in its historical evolution process. Because of informality, Caracas has been blind folded to its past and future; it has erased its history and doesn't project its destiny. Therefore, it cannot define its present by changing repeatedly without prevision nor planning. New strategies have to be found from considering informality and its magnitude and comparing it with other cities that could also benefit from such explorations in a reciprocal way.The city grows destroying its traditional organization system and transforms itself in the middle of informal intervention. The fact that this improvisation energy grows constantly as a genuine representation of urban culture it's paradigmatic, confronting us with the appearance of new values and new languages.

INFORMAL VS FORMAL
This project goes beyond the simplistic vision that considers the city as a body conformed by formal and informal areas. It tries to understand urban dynamics as an integrated totality, where the formal gets informalized and the informal gets formalized: complex processes in a diversified culture, a culture reigned by informal systems in such ways as illegality, anonymity, improvisation, invasion and an extensive range of aspects waiting yet to be revised. In this way, this notion covers a definition of the informal as a global phenomena; a cultural quality more than a partial or material condition. Nevertheless, this is a vision that distinguish in detail those environments and urban areas that concentrate informality in a much more evident way to interpret and acknowledge its potential.

To make the most of the existing work made by local actors on the recognition of this reality and involve them with our international participants is essential for the challenge that this project confronts, as a unique opportunity for feedback and experience interchange that will definitively benefit the city.

Biography

The 1993 founded Caracas Urban Think Tank is an independent non profit research organization assembled as a multidisciplinary team that works in urban projects. It tries to contribute in the theoretical and practical application of architecture and urban planning, specially for the city of Caracas. Since 1995, its principal directors are Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner.

Alfredo Brillembourg, member of the Venezuelan Architects and Engineers Association, was born in New York City in 1961. He received his Bachelor of Art and Architecture (1984) and his Master of Science in Architectural Design (1986) from Columbia University, New York. Brillemborg was a guest professor at the University José María Vargas and later at the University Simon Bolivar in Caracas. Since 1995, he is guest professor at the Universidad Central de Venezuela.

Hubert Klumpner, Member of the German Architects Association, was born 1965 in Salzburg. He received Diploma at the Academy for Applied Art in Vienna (1993) and his Masters Degree in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University in New York (1995). Since 2001, he is guest professor at the Universidad Central de Venezuela. Klumpner has won among others the prize of the National Olympic Committee in Rome, of the city of Vienna and the Rudolf Schindler Award.

     
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