The stock exchange on Beursplein 5 is mainly known to the public for the stock exchange that takes place where many people will only know the impressive (and not accessible to the public) exhibition hall from newspapers and news. Upon completion in 1914, the building’s biggest innovation was also invisible to the stock traders present: The heating and ventilation system, which was hidden in the basement and regulated the indoor climate in the building, was at that time the largest and most advanced air conditioning system in the Netherlands.
Left: portrait of Jos. Cuypers, made approx. 1917. Right: Cuypers in the Stock Exchange (ca. 1915). † Source links: Wikimedia Commons; source right: Amsterdam City Archives image bank (ANWZ00262000001).
The stock exchange is built after a design by architect Jos. Cuypers (1861-1949), son of the renowned architect Pierre Cuypers (1827-1921), among others responsible for the design of the Central Station and the Rijksmuseum. Jos’ oeuvre. Cuypers consisted largely of Catholic churches, but as an architect he also had a very unique and modern signature. Between 1910 and 1914, Cuypers designed an Um 1800-style office building, a German variant of a new, historicizing style, on an almost rectangular floor plan, with the Great Stock Exchange Hall as the heart of the building between 1910 and 1914.
Advertisement for the company Erikstrup og Struve in the eighth issue of the trade magazine De Ingenieur in 1914. | Source: Delpher.
Requirements for the indoor climate
As a result of, among other things, the industrial revolution and new ideas about health, hygiene and comfort, from 1840 onwards, increasing demands were made on the indoor climate in buildings. Moreover, installation technology developed rapidly, certainly in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A detailed program of requirements was prepared for the tender for the Ventilation and heating installation on the Stock Exchange. For example, for the different rooms in the building, it was mentioned when the plant was to be used and how high the occupancy was at those times. The amount of ventilation air to be supplied was estimated to be approximately 100,000 cubic meters per hour. The indoor temperature was set at 18 ° C for all traffic and living areas in the building. Cuypers was advised on the installation design by engineer K. Erikstrup from the Brussels company Harten & Povel, who would later start his own office in The Hague with his partner E. Struve. Together, Erikstrup and Cuypers made a study trip through Europe in 1910, specifically intended to study air conditioning in comparable public buildings, and learn from it for the design of the Stock Exchange.
Floor plan of Børsen’s basement, 1911. In blue supply of fresh air, in red supply of preheated fresh air. Fresh air could also be supplied unheated through a U-shaped duct to the exhibition hall. † Source: Het Nieuwe Instituut, Building Folder of Børsen, designed by J.Th.J. Cuypers / EFFE, inventory number EFFEa27, edited by author.
Heating and ventilation
The exchange was centrally heated and mechanically ventilated with an air heating system. Fresh air reached the exhibition hall from the basement, where the air from a patio was drawn in by a large fan. Six air heaters were installed behind this fan: cylindrical boilers where the air was preheated in ducts wrapped around hot water pipes. The fresh air was then led through a large duct to the exhibition hall. What was very special was that the fresh, preheated air was then distributed throughout the building not via architectural channels, but via corridors and rooms. Grids in the ceilings of the office areas were used to duct spoiled air to the ventilation towers on the roof. When the restaurant was in use at times other than the exhibition hall and offices, another, smaller air heating system was installed here. Hot water heating was also used to support the air heating, for which 6 cast iron boilers of the ‘Reck’ system were installed in the basement. Most of the rooms had cast iron radiators. In the exhibition hall, there were examples of wrought iron because they had a greater heat capacity.
The stock exchange hall in the second half of the twentieth century. In red the original grilles for night ventilation. † Source: Amsterdam City Archives image bank (BMAB00010000021_001).
Historic air conditioners of today
According to press releases, the installation worked excellently after delivery. It is unclear to what extent the original air conditioner is still present in the building. Most parts are expected to have disappeared, possibly with the exception of a few architectural canals. The vast majority of historic facilities from the second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century suffered this fate, due to the many technical developments that followed one another rapidly in succession during this period. Technically, of course, we are much further ahead in 2022 than in 1914. But by the way architects saw the indoor climate as an integral part of building design between 1840-1920, we can still do a lot in our present time, with the sustainability challenge , we face. learn.
One of the 6 cast iron kettles ‘Reck’, located in the heating cellar. † Source: Bouwkundig Weekblad 1914, 154.
Heritage of the Week
Each week, the Heritage of the Week section focuses on a particular archaeological find, site, object, monumental building or historic site in the city. Via the website amsterdam.nl/erfgoed, Twitter @ arv020 and Facebook Monuments and Archeology, the cultural heritage experts in Monuments and Archeology share the city’s heritage with Amsterdammere and other interested parties.
This Heritage of the Week is written by Natasja Hogen, who completed her dissertation on May 18, 2022 at the University of Amsterdam with the title ‘A new approach to comfort. The influence of innovations in heating and ventilation on the design and use of buildings, 1840-1920‘defended.
The facade of the stock exchange seen from Beursplein. In blue ventilation towers, in orange 2 non-functional towers, which are located in front of the picture. † Source: Amsterdam City Archives image bank (010003009563).