Built at the end of the 19th century for the headquarters of the British-owned São Paulo Railway, Estação da Luz (Station of Light) is the oldest of its kind in the city. The SPR owned an important line that connected Santos Harbour to Jundiaí; Estação da Luz was the only stop in São Paulo and so played a key role in Brazil’s development. It was through it that all the coffee—the state’s main economic activity—passed to reach the sea for export.
The current building was erected between 1895 and 1901: its design by the British engineer Henry Driver reflected the important role played by the Estação da Luz on the urban, national and even the world stage. The clock tower set the time for everyone in town.
The station fell into disrepair in the 1940s and remained neglected until the 1990s, when the architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha and his son Pedro took on its refurbishment. It now contains the Museu da Lingua Portuguesa (“Museum of the Portuguese Language” or, as some would have it, the “Light of our Language Station”) as well as the second busiest metro and overland train station in São Paulo.