Alfredo Brillembourg founded the Urban-Think Tank (U-TT) collective in 1998 as an informal multi-disciplinary research group in his home in Altamira, Caracas. In 2001, Brillembourg invited Hubert Klumpner to co-found the U-TT NGO and later in 2007 to co-found the U-TT company in Caracas, Venezuela. Brillembourg and Klumpner continued their partnership in Zürich, which lasted until 2019. In 2020, U-TT Norway was established by Brillembourg to expand socially and environmentally sustainable projects with Scandinavian funding and new partners of the global U-TT Design Group.
U-TT’s approach has always centered on bridging academia and practice in order to deliver innovative yet practical solutions to real-world problems. To achieve this, Brillembourg has brought together specialists from different fields, including architects, civil engineers, environmental planners, landscape architects, urban sociologists, and communication experts, to explore and respond to people’s needs in a holistic and human-centered manner. Building on his extensive design and academic experience, Brillembourg continuous to be driven by the ambition to create positive change with each project.
Brillembourg as a social entrepreneur has expanded the U-TT activities through numerous partnerships and running a number of still-active U-TT offices. This includes: establishing a New York branch Urban-Think Tank Design Partners while leading a GSAPP design studio at Columbia University; expanding into the South American market with a new Brazilian branch of the office U-TT/Sao Paulo to build a music school; an office in Cape Town, South Africa with Andy Bolnick of Ikhayalami Development Services to build Empower Shack housing; and U-TT Oslo run by Tord Isdal to advance solar energy solutions and tech applications.
In addition to all of his built work, Brillembourg has used different media to bring the topics of inequality and the politics of design to a wider audience, including publishing numerous books and producing several award-winning films. Currently, Brillembourg is releasing a new full-feature doc film with his production company Grand Horizonte Media Gmb.