A Conditioned Exchange
The emergence of financial institutions such as the exchanges or bourses of northern Europe in the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries made possible the emergence of speculation in financial instruments. Speculation evolved into a game with its own logic, and the implied ethos of the speculator prioritised abstract notions and self-interest.
This article investigates the relation between this ethos of speculation and architecture in this timeframe. During this period, the architecture of the exchanges transformed; what was a square with an inside at the outset gradually became an enclosed institution with representative façades toward the end of the period. The transition of the physical environment of exchange and the increasingly complex financial instruments interact, and this interaction is traced through a sequence of exchange-structures inspired by one another.
The question explored is: what is the relationship between the emergence of an ethos of speculation and the architectural space of the exchange? This relationship can be discussed in terms of a different kind of conditioning that has less to do with industrialisation, but which could, in extension, form a starting point for discussions on architecture’s role in the formation and conditioning of homo œconomicus.
Braun, Georg & Hogenberg, Franz Civitates Orbis Terrarum. 1572.
Burgon, John William. Life and Times of Sir Thomas Gresham. Vol. 1 of 2. London: Robert Jennings, 1839.
Calabi, Donatella. The Market and the City: Square, Street and Architecture in Early Modern Europe. Historical Urban Studies. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004.
Calabi, Donatella. “Trading Spaces in European Port Cities: The Architectural Models of Bourses, Lonjas and Exchanges.” in The Routledge Handbook of Maritime Trade around Europe 1300-1600. Oxon: Routledge, 2017.
De Jonge, Krista. “Bâtiments Publics à Fonction Économique à Anvers Au XVIe Siècle: L’invention d’un Type?” in Public Buildings in Early Modern Europe, edited by K. Ottenheym, M. Chatenet, and K. De Jonge. Turnhout: Brepols, 2010.
Engel, Henk & Gramsbergen, Esther. ‘Het eerste beursgebouw en de vorming vanhet centrum van Amsterdam’ Overholland vol. 3 (2006).
Ehrenberg, Richard. Capital & Finance in the Age of the Renaissance: A Study of the Fuggers. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1928.
Foucault, Michel. The Birth of Biopolitics. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2008.
Gelderblom, Cities of commerce: the institutional foundations of international trade in the Low Countries, 1250-1650. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013.
Geschwend, A. Jordan, and KJP Lowe, eds. The Global City: On the Streets of Renaissance Lisbon. London: Paul Holberton Publishing, 2015.
Guicciardini, Lodovico. Description de Tout Le Païs Bas. Antwerp: Guillaume Silvius, 1568.
Guicciardini, Lodovico. Descrittione Di Tutti i Paesi Bassi. Antwerp: Apresso Christofano Plantino, 1581.
Harreld, Donald J. ‘Trading Places: The Public and Private Spaces of Merchants in Sixteenth-Century Antwerp.’ Journal of Urban History 29, no. 6 (September 2003): 657–69.
Hont, Istvan, Jealousy of Trade: International Competition and the Nation-state in Historical Perspective, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005.
Howes, Edmvnd. Annales, or, A Generall Chronicle of England. Begun by Iohn Stow: Continued and Augmented with Matters Foraigne and Domestique, Ancient and Moderne, Vnto the End of This Present Yeere, 1631. London: Impensis Richardi Meighen, 1631.
Imray, Jean. ‘The Origins of the Royal Exchange.’ in The Royal Exchange, edited by Ann Saunders, Vol. 152. London: The London Topographical Society, 1997.
Kärrholm, Mattias. Retailising Space: Architecture, Retail and the Territorialisation of Public Space. Farnham: Ashgate, 2012.
La Berge, Leigh Claire, “The Rules of Abstraction: Methods and Discourses of Finance” in Radical History Review, vol. 118 (Winter 2014).
Lee, Christopher C.M. and Jacoby, Sam (eds.). Architectural Design. Vol. 1: Typological Urbanism, Projective Cities (2011).
MacFarlane, Charles. The Life of Sir Thomas Gresham, Founder of the Royal Exchange. London: C. Knight & co., 1845.
Magnusson, Lars. The Political Economy of Mercantilism. Abingdon: Routledge, 2015.
Neal, Larry, and Jeffrey G. Williamson. The Cambridge history of capitalism, ed. by Larry Neal and Jeffrey G. Williamson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.
Persky, John. ‘The Ethology of Homo Economicus’. Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 9 no. 2 (Spring 1995).
Pevsner, Nikolaus. A History of Building Types. Princeton: Princeton Architectural Press, 1976.
Rossi, Aldo. The Architecture of the City. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1982.
Saunders, Ann. ‘The Building of the Exchange.’ In The Royal Exchange. London: The London Topographical Society, 1997.
Saunders, Ann. The Royal Exchange. London: The London Topographical Society, 1997.
Stern, Philip J. & Wennerlind, Carl, eds., Mercantilism Reimagined: Political Economy in Early Modern Britain and its Empire. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.
Stringham, Edward. ”The Extralegal Development of Securities Trading in Seventeenth-century Amsterdam”. The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, 43 (2003) 321–344.
Stringham, Edward. ‘Markets Without Enforcement’ Private Governance: Creating Order in Economic and Social Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.
Thomas, Amy. ‘“Mart of the World”: an architectural and geographical history of the London Stock Exchange’. The Journal of Architecture, 17:6 (2012).
Vega, Joseph de la. Confusion de Confusiones. Translated by Hermann Kellenbenz. Cambridge: Baker Library, Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, 1957.
Vega, Josseph de la. “Confusion de Confusiones.” Edited by MFJ Smith. DBNL, 2008.
Vogl, Joseph. The Specter of Capital. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2015.
Wallenstein, Sven-Olov. Bio-Politics and the Emergence of Modern Architecture. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2009.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.