Included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1985, the Historic Center of Salvador, Bahia, gathered a series of unique urban and architectural features, inherited from its past as colonial capital. When the commissioned Lina Bo Bardi to develop the refurbishment project, the center was practically in ruins with over thirty percent of abandoned properties. However, the intervention focussed not only on restoring the relevant structures, but also on preserving the ‘popular soul’ of the city, creating a productive tissue that would avoid displacing the local population.
Specific historic buildings are strategically selected to be transformed into artistic or cultural landmarks in the city, such as the Gregório de Mattos Theater or the Casa do Benin. Furthermore, in the Ladeira da Misericordia a prototype develops a repertoire of constructive solutions that can be used in the other decaying properties. At street level, the strategy is based on the idea of giving the public space back to pedestrians, eliminating traffic and inserting a series of ephemeral objects like fountains, food carts, or parasols, which favor interaction among citizens and social activity.