Casa Coati – Salvador, Brazil - Atlas Obscura

Casa Coati

This modernist building is the last remnant of an ambitious plan to restore a neighborhood. 


The Coati House, located in the historic neighborhood of Pelourinho in Salvador, is a landmark of Brazilian modernist architecture and a true hidden treasure in the city. Designed by the architect Lina Bo Bardi, the house was built in the 1950s and is a perfect example of her innovative and experimental approach to architecture.

The Coati House is known for its singular structure, consisting of a series of concrete pillars that support the building and create a floating effect. The house also has a series of panoramic windows that offer breathtaking views of the city, as well as an internal garden that creates an oasis of tranquility in the midst of the city’s bustle. It is located on the Ladeira da Misericordia (Mercy Slope), a historically important street that connects the upper and lower sections of the city.

But the true beauty of the Coati House lies in its planner, Lina Bo Bardi. Born in Italy, Bo Bardi moved to Brazil in the 1940s and quickly became one of the country’s most influential architects. In addition to her notable architectural work, she was also an active defender of Brazilian culture and art and an important member of the intellectual community of the time. (One of her best-known projects is the iconic Museu de Arte de São Paulo.)

In the late 1980s, Bo Bardi worked with the Brazilian architect and urbanist João Filgueiras Lima—better known as Lelé—on an ambitious plan for the Ladeira da Misericordia. As part of a plan to restore the neighborhood, several derelict buildings were converted into housing, and an empty lot became the site for something more experimental: Casa Coati. When first built, it served as a restaurant and a cultural center for both residents and tourists. Today, the Coati House is the last remnant of Bo Bardi’s Pelourinho project.

Despite her fame and influence, Bo Bardi’s life and work are still shrouded in mystery. Many of her projects were never completed and many of her drawings and documents are still unknown to the public. Some say that she kept secrets about her life and work, and that there is much more to be discovered about this remarkable architect.

In summary, the Coati House is a hidden gem in the Pelourinho neighborhood, offering visitors a unique opportunity to delve into Brazilian modernist architecture and explore the mysteries of Lina Bo Bardi’s life and work. Anyone interested in architecture or the cultural history of Brazil should not miss the chance to visit this wonderful house.

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