The building which houses the Headquarters of the Lisbon Metro, situated on Av. Fontes Pereira de Melo, in Lisbon, was designed by the Architect Norte Júnior for a rich capitalist, called José Maria Moreira Marques, who had made his fortune in Brazil. This building, commonly known as the “wedding cake” because of its exuberant decoration, was awarded the Valmor Prize in 1914.
In 1950, the owner’s descendants sold the building to the Lisbon City Council and, in 1954, it was let to the Lisbon Metro which, by the end of that year, moved in its Headquarters. In 1999, the City Council granted to the Metropolitano de Lisboa the ownership of the building.
Over the years, the building has been considered to be a remarkable “museum” for the decorative arts from the beginning of the century. Its exterior displays elements inspired by the classical, neo-classical and “art nouveau” styles, such as the doors, windows and verandas. The interior showed a very well planned distribution of room spaces. The kitchen and the pantry, the servants’ quarters and the place which used to be a children’s gymnasium, presently a library, are situated in the basement. The main rooms and the social rooms such as the Music Room, Smoking Room and the Noble Room, nowadays used as a meeting room, were on the ground floor, where the beauty of the painting representing Venus on Mount Olympus is worthy of special mention.
The bedrooms, children’s room, bathrooms and toilets were on the first floor. The building is also fitted with a lift that was manufactured in Germany and which is still in working order.
Decorated with rare wood of the very best quality from Brazil, plaster ornaments coated with gold leaf, water colours and frescos which were very popular at the time, this small palace has always been considered to be a building of important and unusual value.
The Lisbon Metro Headquarters building, including the old garden area, residential annex and garage, was listed as Building of Public Interest in 2002. Over these 51 years, the company has carried out a number of conservation works and improvements, including the restoration of the paintwork to its original look. This has enabled the Lisbon Metro to contribute greatly to the preservation of the heritage in its custody, whose cultural and public interest value have been recognized by the classification granted to it.