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Hunter Lee
Hunter Lee

Prison Architect Perfect Storm-PLAZA [NEW]

In a 2007 book on El Helicoide, a state-of-the-art mall planned for 1950s Caracas, German-Venezuelan architect Dirk Bornhorst writes, "The whole construction was conceived as an artistic urban sculpture, an architectural pièce de résistance." Chilean poet Pablo Neruda called it "one of the most exquisite creations ever to have sprung from the mind of an architect." In the golden years following Venezuela's oil boom, with car culture on the rise, El Helicoide was planned as a living representation of a booming economy, an architectural shrine to commerce inspired by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, yet, aesthetically, wholly Venezuelan, blending strikingly with its hilly terrain. But the mall was never completed; it fell into disrepair just a few years after construction began, incurring costs reaching $24 million, and has, since 1985, been operated as a notoriously brutal prison. So what happened?

Prison Architect Perfect Storm-PLAZA

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