Beurs van Berlage: View of corner, with clock tower
From 1893 Berlage gradually succeeded in eliminating historicist forms from his buildings, coinciding with a general trend in architecture and the visual arts in Europe and the USA. Located on the Damrak, in the center of Amsterdam, the Beurs was designed as a commodity exchange. As a champion of Gesamtkunstwerk he included in this building all the visual arts, and in such a way that the work was executed entirely under his supervision in order to guarantee the concept of “Unity in Variety”. The program of sculpture and painting, including a series of ceramic tableaux by Jan Toorop, is the main decorative element of the Beurs. Architectural effect is dependent on the articulation of surface and volume and the frank expression of materials and structure, particularly the load-bearing brick walls and graceful iron trusses of the main skylit roof. It influenced many modernist architects, in particular functionalists and the Amsterdam School. It is now used as a conference venue.