Rossio Station Lisbon, Railway Building Portugal, Architect, Photos, Arquitetos portugueses

Rossio Station Lisbon

Portuguese Railway Building design by Broadway Malyan

7 May 2008


Design: Broadway Malyan

Broadway Malyan makes tracks to restore historical station to former glory

Rossio Station Photographs : Fernando Guerra

Rossio Station


Originally designed in the late 1800s by Jose Luis Monteiro, a leading architect of his time, Lisbon’s Rossio station is a Portuguese landmark that had, over the years, been extensively remodelled, resulting in a poorly designed and serviced mainline railway station that had lost much of its historical charm and status.

The building’s original three floors, cleverly designed to direct travellers to key parts of Lisbon, were crudely converted to six in the late 1970s to accommodate the addition of a shopping centre. Following this unforgiving conversion, the subsequently neglected building continued on a path of steady decline, despite serving as the main connecting station for the popular route between Lisbon and Sintra, with heavy daily use by thousands of tourists, local residents and commuters.

Rossio Station Rossio Station Lisbon Rossio Station Lisbon Rossio Station Lisbon

The Brief

Broadway Malyan’s task was clear: to restore the station’s dilapidated external façade, remodel and refurbish its core, and reorganise what had become a confused internal space.

Margarida Caldeira, who led the Broadway Malyan team commented: “Rossio is such a magnificent building, full of local history. Restoring the building’s dignity was integral to our design approach for the completed scheme.”

Challenges & Solutions

Modifications made to Rossio over the years, were executed with little consideration for the overall harmony of the building, resulting in a dysfunctional structure. In particular, the additional floors worked to break up the fluid movement of travellers across the station. The conversion was also an aesthetic eyesore as it clumsily dissected the building’s sweeping windows and expansive arched doorways.

Broadway Malyan proposed a dramatic solution – to remove the three additional floors and reinstate the building’s original layout and lofty, high-ceilinged design. This would, however, also greatly reduce the station’s overall square footage. To lessen the impact of reduced flooring, Broadway Malyan designed sections of the building for commercial office use, which would provide an additional revenue stream for its owners Invesfer, and incorporated carefully placed mezzanines on each floor to reclaim lost square footage.

As well as re-introducing an efficient layout and functionality to the building, Broadway Malyan’s strategy has also allowed original detail, such as Monteiro’s cast iron framed windows, to be viewed in an uncluttered setting.

In keeping with the newly spacious interior, the building’s core services and office mechanics have been neatly routed beneath raised flooring.

White walls and wooden floors throughout create a clean, simple and modern space, whilst the choice of up lighting enhances the simplicity and verticality of the expansive walls, and creates non-obtrusive lighting for a comfortable working environment.

Whilst restoring the original structure, the team unearthed an unexpected architectural gem: an ornate, cast iron and glass ceiling that had been hidden beneath a layer of plasterboard. Once unveiled and restored, the striking ceiling helped re-create a light and spacious room from which several areas of the building can be viewed. The use of glass between connecting rooms further increases the sense of fluid space and unity.

Glass was integral to the refurbishment, not just because it was fundamental to Monteiro’s original design, but also because it provides a visual link between the station area and newly designed office space. Specially engineered Cool-Lite glass, which has high tech acoustic and thermic properties, has been used to regulate sound and temperature whilst helping to retain the original look and feel of the station’s exterior windows.

Broadway Malyan also worked to sensitively restore sections of the scheme that are rich in historical detail such as the King’s waiting room, where Portuguese royalty would wait in privacy for their trains. The room now incorporates original stonework, plaster and wood detail.

Whilst restoring Rossio, the team also attended to the building’s immediate locale. The old market square, which sits adjacent to the station, was being used by commuters as an unofficial and unsightly car park. The space has now been transformed into an elegant public plaza, with seating and shopping facilities to cater for tourists, local residents and workers. The plaza now provides a positive space to greet visitors entering the city.

The facades of buildings framing the new public plaza were also renovated to match the quality of Rossio’s refurbished exterior. To further integrate the station with surrounding architecture, local stone, Lioz, was sourced for use both within Rossio itself and to upgrade street paving bordering the building.


With the building’s interior space reconnected, original structure and design detail sensitively restored, and surrounding area rejuvenated, Rossio has been reinstated as the train station and landmark building it was originally designed to be.

Rossio encompasses 7,800 sq ft in total, which includes the railway station (3,000 sq ft), commercial office space (3,200 sq ft), public exhibition space (1,000 sq ft) and retail units (600 sq ft).

The building will be in full operation from September 2008.

Note – Lisboa is often translated as Lisbon in English

Rossio Station – Building Information

INVESFER – Promoção e Commercialização de Terrenos e Edifícios, S.A.
R. Dr. Eduardo Neves

Cenor, Projectos de Engenharia, Lda.

Engenharia de Acústica e Ambiente, Lda

LMSA – Engenharia de Edifícios S.A.

Gesbau – Engenharia e Gestão, Lda

Teixeira Duarte – Engenharia e Construções, SA

FG + SG – Fotografia de Arquitectura

Broadway Malyan

Broadway Malyan

Rossio Station Photographer Fernando Guerra

Rossio Station, Lisbon – images / information from Broadway Malyan 7 May 2008

Broadway Malyan

Location: Rossio Station, Lisbon, Portugal

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