German Design Award 2021 for Diamond Exchange, Capital C Amsterdam


The Diamond Exchange, Capital C Amsterdam in the Netherlands has been awarded with the German Design Award 2021, one of the most prestigious architecture and design awards. The national monument dating from 1911 has regained its original grandeur after a major renovation based on a design by the architectural office ZJA in collaboration with Heyligers design + projects. On the roof the High Light, a modern and characteristic dome made of steel and glass, sparkles like a diamond. Reborn as Capital C, the national monument is again an essential part of Amsterdam as the center of the creative industry.

Monument appears in all its glory

ZJA's design for the Diamond Exchange, Capital C realizes a few radical changes to the building. A large and remarkable monument that had fallen into disrepair reappears in all its glory. On the roof two striking towers, the original roof edge and the tympana from the original design by Gerrit van Arkel have been reinstated. The authentic tile panelings were recreated bases on old drawings and photographs and the entrance was returned to its original location. The national monument has regained its graceful Art Nouveau contours and the High Light shines on the roof as a new jewel for the city.

Jury statement

The jury of the German Design Council: "The glass dome that nearly occupies the whole area of the roof provides an exciting contrast to the historical architecture of the existing building and leads the building into the present in quite a spectacular way."

New crowning on the roof

The spatial dome is independent and recedes behind the façade, standing free from the bell tower.  There where the two reconstructed towers are located on the roof, the steel ribs of the dome have been omitted and a green roof terrace has been constructed. The spatial dome is an eye-catcher, but due to its reserved position on the roof and its spatial, transparent construction it is modest and respectful towards the national monument. Historical and modern architecture merge in a respectful manner to form one natural unity.

New life for a national monument

In Capital C, an old monument is reinvigorated with new life by enriching it with a unique mix of contemporary functions. In the design for the Diamond Exchange as Capital C, the starting point was that it would be a building where collaboration, meetings and exchanges would be the central theme. Moreover, the building had to be optimally designed for the presence of art and design. Not only did this require the need for exhibition spaces, but in particular some twenty artworks by artists and designers provide an integral part of the design. The various spaces designed by artists and the monumental hall with artworks are part of the connection that the project establishes with the city.

Inward-looking facades and a busy flow of traffic typified the surroundings, but a lot has changed with the development of Capital C. The Diamond Exchange changes from a non-public office building into Capital C; a city-oriented center where history, architecture, creativity and art come together.

ZJA in collaboration with Heyligers design + projects (architects), Zadelhoff B.V. and Sijthoff Media (client), Müller & van Tol (interior designer), Braaksma & Roos Architectenbureau (restoration architect), Van Milt Restaurateurs (restoration experts): Pieters Bouwtechniek (design consultant), DCV Bouw (principal contractor), Octatube (engineer and contractor roof structure), Studio Linse (interior designer High Light), NewKantoor (contractor final phase), Peak Development (project management).



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