New-look Rossio station set to open by 2008.jpg

New-look Rossio station set to open by 2008

By Chris Graeme

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Rossio Station, closed since cracks were discovered in the Rossio Tunnel in 2004, is being tastefully restored – The Resident’s Chris Graeme was given a preview tour.

ONE OF Lisbon’s most flamboyant industrial architectural landmarks has been given a multi-million euro facelift.

Rossio Station, the grade ‘A’ listed Neo-Manueline/ Art Nouveau extravaganza in Lisbon’s Praça Restauradores, has been closed to the public since October 2004, when dangerous cracks were discovered deep inside the Victorian superstructure of its attendant Rossio Tunnel.

Now the station, which is a cast iron and glass testament to the ingenuity of the late 19th century industrial age, has been given a 7.5 million euro top-to-toe revamp by Edinburgh-based UK architects Broadway Malyan.


Work on modernising the station, which is owned by Portuguese rail-track company REFER, had already begun as far back as the mid 1990s when the metro station at Praça Restauradores was linked directly to the Rossio Station ticket hall and platforms by a series of modern escalators.

A group of architects, led by Margarida Caldeira, have modernised and transformed the interiors of the vast complex, while retaining most of the original cast iron 19th century features and maintaining the florid and stylish exterior façades.

Out have gone the scruffy-looking kiosks and clothes shops, which cluttered the original space, and in are a series of sound-proofed offices with polished wooden floors and stairs, mezzanine upper floors and under-floor air conditioning.


The smart and regal-looking Sala Real, which in times gone by acted as a VIP waiting room for the Portuguese royal curt and nobility, has been fully restored to its former glory including its deep red thick-pile carpet and ornate neo-gothic bronze-coloured doors.

A unique exhibition space, which tastefully combines the original wrought-iron suspended ceiling with modern sweeping staircases and Lloyds of London-style silver ventilation tubes on full view, was put in at the insistence of the Ministry of Culture and Lisbon Câmara.

The ground floor will also be able to house temporary exhibitions, such as the successful recent Presidential Cars exhibition featured in the November 3 edition of The Resident.

The ticket office has also been spruced up. Gone are the dark marble hallways in favour of a light and airy space leading to the main platform concourse, next in line to be renovated and restored to its former glory along with the new tunnel and signalling system – all of which should be up and running by January/ February 2008.


Readers will recall that the station and tunnel were closed following an engineers’ report stating that the tunnel was in danger of collapse.

The Minister of Public Works Mario Lino said last week that work on both the station and tunnel should be completed by the end of this year at an estimated combined cost of 46 million euros (6.5 million euros over budget).

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