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An interactive documentary shows how Venezuela's symbolic shopping mall became a prison

Venezuela Architecture News - Feb 1, 2019 - 00:25   1457 views

An interactive documentary shows how Venezuela's symbolic shopping mall became a prison

BBC has released a new interactive documentary, showing that how Venezuela's symbolic shopping mall became the country's most notorious political prisons. Narrated with a number of illustrations, graphics and videos, the documentary provides an in-depth look at the lives within the building to make feel the real torture. 

With real-life stories, the BBC wanted to bring to life scenes from within the jail using vivid 3D illustrations, based on accounts from former detainees and extremely rare interviews with former security officers.

"Each chapter gives you a 360-degree scene to explore, by clicking, swiping or using your phones gyroscope to open up a window into the jail. It's a combination of a long-read, a documentary film and a point-and-click adventure," the BBC explained.

Composed of a series of cascaded platforms, the building is located in Caracas and it consolidated Caracas’ reputation as a modern Latin American capital with its giant spiral concrete structure. 

An interactive documentary shows how Venezuela's symbolic shopping mall became a prison

El Helicoide in 2012. Image © Nelson Garrido

The spiraling concrete Helicoide was designed by Donald Richter in the late 1950s as a futuristic shopping mall, and it was the first such dome installed outside the U.S. Inspired by the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, it was capped with a Buckminster Fuller dome. When built, the building was supposed to be the world's first drive-through shopping centre.

But for years, the building stood largely empty until it became home to Venezuela's notorious intelligence agency, currently known as Sebin. Terreform’s published book "Downward Spiral" also revealed a dramatic history behind Venezuela’s symbolic helicoide, more details about the book can be read here

Top image: Image © Pietro Paolini/Terraproject, 2012

> via BBC