A metamorphosis has taken place in Amsterdam on Weesperplein. The Diamantbeurs (Diamond Exchange) is a historic building that has been restored to its former glory with a striking addition! Over the full width of the building, Octatube has built a roof structure that is 10 meters high. As you can see, Diamonds are Forever.
To promote the diamond trade, the Diamond Exchange in Amsterdam was built in 1910. The well-known architect Gerrit van Arkel designed the building. In 2015 the building was purchased by Sijthoff Media Groep and Zadelhoff Beheer (formerly Beheer Brouwershoff). The Diamantbeurs is undergoing the transformation according to the design of ZJA Zwarts & Jansma Architects and Heyligers design + projects. All historical details will be done by Braaksma & Roos Architects. Octatube has been commissioned to realize the spectacular roof structure.
The design for this project is very refined and innovative. The large dome, which is about 45x21x10 meters (lxwxh), consists of two floors and has a free form. Meaning it cannot be defined by a certain basic geometric shape such as a sphere or cube. The Octatube team has taken on the engineering (the constructional elaboration and structural calculations) of the design. Optimizing the shape in 3D and the parametric designing were particularly challenging.
Because of the free form of the design, all the parts (steel beams, glass panels, etc.) differ and each time they come together in a different geometric way. If anything in the design was adjusted, all parts would change. After all, everything was connected. This led to the idea to automate the design by developing a parametric tool that could convert the complex basic geometry into a detailed production model. Here you can read more about how parametric design was applied in this project. The design was parametrically designed down to the last detail and from these models the productions were managed. By designing the project parametrically, the construction proved to be not only technically feasible but cost effective as well.
Besides the fact that Octatube developed software for this project in-house, a file-to-factory method was devised and implemented. For example, when a certain assembled element had to be manufactured, the necessary tube-laser cut steel parts were available on the same pallet. The parts were then assembled on an adjustable mould with supports, also known as a 'nail bed'.
Daniel van Kersbergen, engineer at Octatube: "All complexity is automatically extracted from the computer by using the developed software; the height, the position and the angle of the part. The geometry of the model is extremely complicated because everything is skewed. The nail bed ensures that all the complexity of the model can still be assembled in one go.
The welding work is difficult because of the complexity of the model. Using the nail bed, the welders managed to control the tolerances.
Vincente Monteiro Chantre, foreman at Octatube: "The biggest challenge is to ensure that the fabrication is of the right size. If you weld, the material always distorts a bit. You have to be able to properly assess what the material is going to do. We determine our welding direction and position before we begin welding. The fact that the practical and theoretical part come together at an early stage certainly was an advantage.
Successful trial fitting of the structure at Octatube in Delft.
Building Integrated Photo Voltaics (BIPV)
With a BIPV system, the standard PV panels are integrated into the building. BIPV always has a two-in-one function that combines the generation of solar energy with roofing, facades or glass. For the Diamond Exchange, the BIPV system is integrated in the glass panels of the roof. Each glass panel has a unique number and unique location on the dome. When delivering the panels, we therefore agreed in advance in what order and in what way the panels should be grouped on the glass stillage.
Exemptions had to be requested for the large and wide components. Only between 6:00 and 7:30 am, unloading was allowed.
Corine Dikkers, project manager at Octatube: " The moment all parts on site come together and fit together perfectly, then you are really proud that such a design is made by Octatube. A lot of preparation goes into all phases of the project and so many people work on it. When it all comes together on site in such a short time (8 days, steel construction), you think: wow, there it is!
The roof structure designed by ZJA has a limelight purpose. You can easily see the transparent curves of the new structure from a distance. The glass roof structure refers to the history of the building as the centre of the international diamond trade. Like a cut diamond it shines in the light and makes the Diamond Exchange shine again.
(Photo's J.W. Kaldenbach)