Elisa Silva

La Casa de Todos

Caracas, Venezuela · Architecture

Elisa Silva’s initiative La Casa de Todos (House for Everyone), is a community-led cultural space in the barrio La Palomera, in Caracas, Venezuela, that strives to be an inclusive and participatory model for city development favouring integration across socioeconomic and geographic borders.

The shared initiative La Casa de Todos (Everyone’s House), is a community-led cultural space located in Caracas. This center, strategically situated on the border between Baruta and La Palomera, plays a pivotal role in connecting people within the city. It serves as a hub for various arts and cultural activities, offering a wide range of courses and events for both the local community and the city at large.

What sets ‘La Casa de Todos’ apart is its mission to exemplify the virtues of a diverse, inclusive and complex urban space that knows no boundaries between barrio and non-barrio residents. Governed by an autonomous civil association, the center’s “ongoingness” is fundamental to its credibility and success, representing the fourteen plus entities that collectively use it, and care for the upkeep of its services including rainwater collection, vegetable gardens and a public library. What emerges is an exemplary model of participation and inclusion in a shared commons. 

2023 Elisa Silva - Venezuela

Elisa Silva is the director and founder of Enlace Arquitectura, (est. 2007) a multidisciplinary professional practice in architecture, urban design and landscape architecture, and Enlace Foundation (est. 2017), an NGO that promotes environmental, cultural and educational programs of social inclusion and participatory design collaborations. Enlace’s work has been recognized in numerous design competitions, exhibitions and international biennials including the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize 2022, the Biennale di Venezia 2021, the Chicago Architecture Biennial 2021, Arc en Rêve centre d’architecture in Bordeaux 2022, Centro Cultural Parque de España in Rosario Argentina 2022, Miami Art Basel FIU Gallery 2022, the XI and VII Ibero American Architecture and Urban Design Biennial and the X Architecture Biennial in Chile.

Elisa is an American-Venezuelan architect, with a Master of Architecture from Harvard GSD. Her practice and research challenge prejudiced narratives that support spatial inequality and mine resources to improve livelihoods and environments in territories such as Latin American informal settlements or barrios, the Guaire River in Caracas Venezuela, the rural landscapes of Oaxaca Mexico and Miami Florida´s rapidly gentrifying downtown communities. This work has been supported by grants from the Swiss, French and US Embassies in Venezuela, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Harvard University David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Roma Burgau Germany, the Mellon Foundation and private donations. Elisa is the author of seminal publications on barrios and public space including CABA Cartography of the Caracas Barrios (FE 2015) and Pure Space: expanding the public sphere through public space transformations in Latin-American spontaneous settlements (Actar 2020).

© Régulo Gómez

© Régulo Gómez

Her writings have also been published by Park Books, Birkhäuser, Actar, Arquine, Metropolis Magazine, Azure, Brooklyn Rail, Rassegna di Architettura e Urbanistica, NESS.doc, forA on the Urban, Manifest Journal and Venezuelan journals. Elisa is Associate Professor at Florida International University FIU with a joint appointment at the Wolfsonian Public Humanities Lab and the Department of Architecture. She has also taught at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Princeton University School of Architecture, the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Design at the University of Toronto, the Simón Bolívar University and the Central University in Venezuela.

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