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Sitting on top of a small natural hill, amidst the slums of San Agustín, in south-central Caracas, Venezuela, is a magnificent building with a spiraling ramp that coils onto itself becoming tighter and tighter, rising higher and higher, until it reaches the apex crowned by a geodesic dome, designed by none other than Richard Buckminster Fuller himself.

El Helicoide, or the Helix, is one of Venezuela’s most important relics of the modernist movement. It was supposed to be the world’s first drive-through shopping mall with a 2.5 mile long spiraling ramp for cars to ascend, descend, and park directly in front of the shops they wanted to visit. There was space for more than three hundred stores, and would have included a 5 star hotel, a movie theater with seven screens, exhibition halls, a gym, a pool, a bowling alley, a nursery and a lot more.

helicoide-caracas-6

Photo credit: Projecto Helicoide

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© Amusing Planet, 2017.


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