Magna Plaza

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The old Main Postoffice, currently Magna Plaza.
Interior view to the top with high ceiling and arcs
The great hall of Magna Plaza.
Decorations during the coronation of king Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands

The Former Amsterdam Main Post Office, currently a shopping mall known as Magna Plaza, is a monumental building located at Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 182, Amsterdam, Netherlands. It was built in 1895–1899 in Neo-Gothic and Neo-Renaissance style. The building has been a rijksmonument since July 9, 1974, and is part of the Top 100 Dutch heritage sites.[1]

History[edit]

The Main Post Office was built in the period 1895–1899, designed by Cornelis Peters. It replaced the Royal Post Office from 1854, built by Frederik Willem Conrad and Cornelis Outshoorn, which served as a gallery shortly before being taken down in 1897.

Exterior[edit]

The brick exterior is heavily decorated with variations of dimension stone, and framings for all windows and doors. Across the roof edges are a large number of dormers, each with their own crow-stepped gable. Due to the pear shaped crowns on top of the towers the building is colloquially named ‘Perenburg’ (English: pearburg).

Interior[edit]

The building's interior consists of a central hall with galleries on two upper floors, surrounded by arcades and crowned by a sunroof. The public function of the building was limited to the ground floor, while the rest of the building was only accessible to personnel of the PTT. In 1987 the PTT announced that it intended to vacate the building and it was sold the next year for ƒ 7,5 million (about €3,2 million) to Larmag, a Swedish real estate developer, who intended to repurpose the building as a luxurious shopping mall. Maintaining and optimally using the monumental building was a main criterion. The construction started in February 1991. The exterior work was mostly limited to cleaning, repair and restoration of the facades. The interior of the building was completely rebuilt, maintaining the carrying structures and decorative elements.

Renovation and shopping mall[edit]

Unexpected technical problems delayed the work; the building's foundation had to be replaced, and several of the beams were found to be hollow. The floors of the new mall were connected by escalators and elevators. The existing stairways were maintained. Two as emergency stairways and one as a public stairway. Office spaces were created in the attic. The renovation was led by H. Ruijssenaars. The shopping mall Magna Plaza, named after Larmag's CEO Lars-Erik Magnusson, was finally opened to the public on August 17, 1992.

Historical images[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1] Description at monumentenregister.cultureelerfgoed.nl, official website for Dutch cultural heritage

Coordinates: 52°22′25″N 4°53′25″E / 52.3736°N 4.8903°E / 52.3736; 4.8903