Dois de Julho Square

Dois de Julho Square

This proposal was created for the National Public Competition for the Urban and Architectural Intervention on Dois de Julho Square and its surroundings, in Salvador, Bahia. The site concentrates complexities, contradictions and land-use dynamics that bestow it a unique identity. It features a robust and outstanding design, secluded in the city’s urban fabric.

The contradictions found on site result from the presence of elements of a distinct nature: a Praça, delineated by small buildings, some of which date back to the 19th century, and a Largo, surrounded by large buildings erected in recent decades. The Praça is a square flooded by sunlight, while the Largo is a dark one, due to the shadow cast by the tall buildings; neither of them possesses a meaningful use, as people pass by and automobiles park on them. During the day, they are busy and serve multiple uses; the unruly night transforms them into a venue where various forms of expression take place. All the while, everything is lost and confused, and it is impossible to distinguish Praça from Largo.

Inside the polygon outlined by the competition, we chose to analyze three areas: Mocambinho, Largo Dois de Julho and Praça Inocêncio Galvão, as well as the Belvedere. The latter is a strip pinned onto the cliff situated between Visconde de Mauá St. and do Contorno Ave. that has been taken into consideration because our team sees it as a natural extension of the set.

The urban and architectural intervention design takes into account characteristics originating from an analysis of opposites that express fluidity, rhythm and continuity amongst the spaces that make up the set. Our idea consists of creating a pre-stressed concrete slab building, which is supported partly by the topography and, at other times, on steel pillars, when not set on solid ground, in accordance with the movement generated by its design.

Said building bestows continuity to the polarized spaces – Praça and Largo. One who travels from one pole to the other notices a shift in characteristics. During this course, it allows the poles to preserve their own particularities, to take on an architectural approach in opposition to their prevailing characteristics: it is monumental in small scale environments, and reduced in large spaces. The subtle variability of planes (supported and suspended) of the building allows for a new way of using public spaces and a new dimension in which the locale can be perceived.
In Mocambinho, the design suggests that the block core be cleared, in order to recover the occupation typology that refers to the spatial distribution model of its inception. This ample inner courtyard stimulates commercial use along the outer perimeter.

Regarding Largo Dois de Julho and Praça Inocêncio Galvão, the conflict between vehicles and pedestrians can be solved via the construction of a 3-story underground parking lot. Consequently, the Largo and Praça can have their meaning restored while their dynamics are respected and the possibilities of use for said areas can be expanded.

Regarding the Belvedere, a section between Visconde de Mauá St. and Contorno Ave., we understand it as a natural extension of the paths and cracks generated by the topography, whose natural forms and rhythm lead pedestrians through its fluid lines all the way to the edge where the view of the Bay is quite a surprise.

We also proposed interventions in the road system, such as closing the accesses to Largo Dois de Julho via da Forca St., in order to give way to a new access adapted from the passage between the two tallest towers located at one of the extremities of the Largo. In a similar fashion, keeping pedestrians in mind, we considered opening Ladeira de Santa Teresa, a steep slope whose pavement would receive a special treatment aimed to increase friction.


Date: 2001
Location: Dois de Julho – Salvador/Bahia
GPS Coordinates: 12°58’53.8″S 38°30’59.0″W (see on google)
Status: Not built
Authors: Adriano Mascarenhas, Thales Barnuevo e Marcus Vinícius Dias
Const. and Structure: Murillo Miranda
Images: Collection Sotero Arquitetura