Transformation of monumental Diamond Exchange, Capital C


Envisaged as Capital C, the former Diamond Exchange at the Weesperplein in Amsterdam is being restored to its former glory. Currently the building is undergoing a major renovation based on a design by ZJA Zwarts & Jansma Architects. The national monument will not only be restored back to the original design by Gerrit van Arkel, but will also be given a startling spatial roof structure of glass and steel. Underneath the spatial roof a terrace and a sky-lounge are planned. This morning the first steel elements of this roof structure were assembled. The first glass panels will be installed in a few weeks.

In collaboration with Octatube, ZJA developed a computational design model for the spatial roof structure that generated and analysed the structure, at the same time providing geometrical and structural optimization. An in-house developed computer program of form finding in which the basic parameters for the design are pre-determined and the software seeks the ideal shape. This allowed for the current form of the roof structure to be realized, not only because it was technically feasible, but also cost efficient. Moreover, the shape could be generated in a natural, controlled manner.

The roof structure designed by ZJA has a spotlight function; it catches the eye and directs the light. The roof structure is an eye-catcher that draws ones eye from afar to the Diamond Exchange and follows the lines based on the original design by Gerrit van Arkel. Anyone looking over the roofs of Amsterdam will easily see the transparent curves of the new roof structure from afar. The glass roof structure refers to the history of the building as the centre of the international diamond trade. Like a polished diamond, it sparkles in the light allowing the Diamond Exchange to shine again.

Photographs: Jan Willem Kaldenbach