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How an Icon of Venezuelan Architecture Became a Prison

The Helicoide was going to be the world’s first drive-through mall. Now it is a prison that former inmates describe as hellish.
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Nelson Garrido/Project Helicoide

This article also appears in Spanish on our sister site, CityLab Latino.

There was a time when everyone heaped praise on the Helicoide. Poet Pablo Neruda called the building “one of the most exquisite creations to emerge from an architect’s mind.” Salvador Dalí wanted his art displayed in what promised to be the most modern shopping mall of the 1950s.