Enduring fast processes of change in the Brazilian cities in the 60's, 70's and 80's, the historic centers were the main target of plans, projects and programs of progress and economic development that tried to overcome the obsolescence of the spaces that still kept the old colonial form and urban design patterns that are considered obsolete. As a consequence of many interventions, some of the central spaces of the city of Campinas had a still faster transformation, causing the demolition of big equipments in a short time, as in the case of the consecutive demolition of two theaters, the São Carlos and the Carlos Gomes. We try to analyze these turning point moments in the urban development of the city of Campinas studying the history of the building and demolition of the two theaters, presupposing that they represent reference points for the modernization of the city and the transformations of the urban spaces around them that could not define a space with the same importance for the city center. As to confirm this, the last rehabilitation projects proposed by the municipal administration tried to rescue the local history and so included some archaeological excavations of the foundations of the theaters as a way to legitimate the design of the square recently built over part of their ruins. In the end we try to make explicit the theoretical bases of intervention of this last project and contribute to the definition of parameters for future actions of preservation and rehabilitation in this and other areas of the center of Campinas.
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