Museum of the Portuguese Language

São Paulo, Brazil

The museum, one of Brazil’s most popular attractions, has hosted some two million visitors since its opening. It has also been a key element in the revitalization of São Paulo's downtown area. It is in the Estação da Luz train station, a landmarked Victorian structure built in 1901 that is still used daily by 200,000 commuters.

With curators, philosophers, writers, musicians, and scholars of all backgrounds and cultures, RAA presents Portuguese as a dynamic, evolving expression of Brazil’s cultural heritage.

Reading of Brazilian literature accompanied by music animate the Language Plaza, a language planetarium where images and words are projected onto its historic, vaulted ceiling, walls, and floor.

The Grand Gallery contains a 120-meter-long digital mural whose thirty-six synchronized projectors create a metaphorical train journey through the country. Eleven films convey the richness of Brazil’s culture.

The Gallery of Influences invites visitors to explore the languages and people that contributed to Brazilian Portuguese and to discover the origins of words still used. An interactive timeline presents the roles Portuguese, African, and indigenous traditions and languages have played in forming the contemporary language. An interactive Etymology Table invites visitors to play with and create words and to learn the origins of the words they use.

Museum of Portuguese Language

Restoration Architecture: Paulo and Pedro Mercedes de la Rocha


12,000 square feet

  • Society for Environmental Graphic Design, Merit Award, Exhibit Design/Museums

  • International Association of Lighting Designers, Award of Merit

  • Event Design Awards, Silver Winner, Best Museum Environment

© 2014, Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Inc.