Public Program

  • La Casa de Todos
    Elisa Silva

The roof of the Casa de Todos has a bamboo trellis that is the result of a bamboo workshop led by Gabriel Nass, Caracas, Venezuela, 2021. Photo: Elisa Silva. Courtesy Enlace Foundation

Cities, villages, and neighborhoods desperately need examples of how we can live together. Urban space is deeply marked by inequalities and class distinctions. Where are the spaces that summon and welcome diversity? Where can people who come from “poor” and “rich” neighborhoods come together and show us how this could happen everywhere? La Casa de Todos is a dynamic and diverse platform for art and culture that challenges prejudices about informal settlements. Located in the barrio La Palomera in Caracas Venezuela, a once abandoned and ruined structure has been recovered and represents a common ground for existing artistic and cultural activities both from the barrio and other nearby neighborhoods. The example of shared learning and collaboration helps dismantle the tropes of a dual formal/informal city and promotes more equitable services and urban public policy. We envision la Casa de Todos as a permanent, socio-economically integrated, educational and cultural resource, intensely used by the immediate community and non-barrio citizens that posits the potential of the arts to challenge social injustice, and environmental stewardship as a fundamental cultural premise for the present and future.

Elisa Silva is an architect and she received her master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She is director and founder of Enlace Arquitectura and Enlace Foundation. Projects include Integration Process Caracas, a cultural and educational initiative that encourages audiences to challenge stigmas associated with barrio communities, funded by the US Embassy in Venezuela. Silva has been the recipient of the Rome Prize, the Wheelwright Fellowship, and a Graham Foundation grant for the publication Pure Space: Expanding the Public Sphere through Public Space Transformations in Latin American Spontaneous Settlements (Actar, 2020). She teaches architecture at Princeton University, the University of Toronto, and Florida International University.

Cheo Carvajal is director of Ciudad Laboratorio, a transdisciplinary team that promotes an integrated, sustainable, and safe city from a social, urban, environmental, and economic perspective, through research and action. He is a journalist from the Central University in Venezuela, with a master’s in design and public space from the Elisava School of Design, Barcelona. He has written extensively on pedestrian mobility; leads the Caracas by Night initiative, an observatory of collective monitoring and night activation; is the creator of El Calvario Open Doors; and is professor of the Diploma in Design and Social Innovation at the Catholic University and Prodiseño School of Design in Caracas.

María Virginia Millán is an architect from the Simón Bolívar University in Caracas, Venezuela, where she became interested in the right to the city and the integration of barrios. Millán participated in the research of public space case studies in spontaneous settlements of Latin America for the publication Pure Space: Expanding the Public Sphere through Public Space Transformations in Latin American Spontaneous Settlements (Actar, 2020). She has presented lectures and participated in talks on the acknowledgement of the barrio as part of the city. In the Integration Process Caracas program, she promoted and coordinated the exchanges between artists and the community, and is currently the lead architect on in the renovation project of the Center for Art and Culture in La Palomera.

Gerardo Zavarce is cofounder of Ciudad Laboratorio. He is a researcher, promoter, and advisor in the area of culture. He has a degree in arts from the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) and has been professor of the sociology of art, sociocultural reality analysis, aesthetic, and community service seminar at the UCV School of Arts. He serves as an advisor to the Nelson Garrido Organization and is curatorial codirector of The Contemporary Art Annex. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Zulia. Since 2011, Zavarce has coordinated the Sensitive Learning program of the International Art Fair of Caracas.