Amsterdam Conference Centre Beurs van Berlage was built in 1903, and opened by the then Dutch Queen Wilhelmina as the Dutch stock exchange and trading centre. It has a long history of trade, craftsmanship, and mercantilism. More recently, it was redeveloped and converted into a first-class conference centre.
Respect for the past
Janneke Bierman, architect and director at Bierman Henket, talks about the Beurs van Berlage with respect and compassion. In recent years, she has supervised a number of drastic renovations to the building. “We currently like it, the colours and the glaze. But, twenty years ago, everything had to be white, arches were bricked up, and ceilings were added. We’re reconstructing the original design. Our priority is to make Berlage shine again. Having done that, we’ll look at how we can introduce contemporary wishes and requirements”, says the architect.
Glazed brick draws attention
The blue, green, black and yellow glazed bricks draw attention to the Beurs. But there are also entire walls in ivory white and warm brown. “For the restoration details, you’re looking for bricks that come closest to the original colour, glaze, and texture”, says Bierman. During the design process, there was close cooperation with Wienerberger, to achieve the best colour nuances for the glazed bricks. The development team found what they were looking for, choosing from a wide range of colour samples and new glaze compositions.
Combining old and new
At the Beurs van Berlage it was possible to create a mixture for certain locations using existing stones from a demolished wall. “That’s the best thing”, says Bierman. “If you can blend the old and the new together. It’s difficult with new openings in the wall. Special bricks are needed there. So they’re all new and made in exactly the right colours”. The new doors and reconstructed elements are exact-as-possible replicas. “If you know, you can see differences, for example in the width of the joints”, explains Bierman. “For most visitors, it looks like it’s always been that way. That’s what gives us joy”.
Project nameBeurs van Berlage, Amsterdam, Netherlands
ArchitectBierman Henket architects
Custom-made glazed façade bricks
Year of completion2017