Our proud history dates back to 1896 when AB Stockholm Tattersall started developing the land on Grev Turegatan where IVA’s building stands today.
The name Tattersall was originally linked to riding through Richard Tattersall who founded Tattersalls in London in 1766. His company was involved in real estate, horse racing, betting, exhibitions etc. and over time Tattersalls was established in Paris, Berlin, New York and Sydney. Stockholm Tattersall was inaugurated in December 1898. The upper hall, which had a large auditorium rising two floors up and an orchestra pit on the opposite short wall, was a venue for both riding lessons and equestrian exhibitions. There were “giant mirrors giving the lady equestrians ample opportunities to admire their elegant form in the saddle.”
Just like today, the building facing the street had a restaurant and shops on the ground floor and banqueting rooms on the first floor. Diners can still admire the original ceiling paintings inside Restaurant Grodan. The banqueting rooms, decorated with silk wall coverings purchased in Paris and a stucco ceiling in white and gold, are essentially the same today. There was a large banquet hall, three smaller drawing rooms, a music room and the “small banquet hall” which is now IVA’s science library. The folding doors could be opened to create one large room, “probably the biggest in Stockholm.” Today we can seat 175 dinner guests in this space.
The second floor was occupied by various clubs and the floor above was where the riding school manager and restauranteur lived. On the top floor was a “velocipede school” with a training track that stretched the length of the building. There was also space for a lawn tennis school. Although Stockholm Tattersall was a success with the public, the company declared bankruptcy in 1901.
For a few years the old riding house was home to Nordiska Kompaniet’s (NK’s) furniture and bed linen departments, as well as its workshops, warehouse and displays. The main entrance and the shop fronts were given the facade that still exists today. A big fire in 1913 totally destroyed the central building as well as the top floor of the building facing the street, despite the fact that all available resources were brought in to fight the fire, including Stockholm’s first “automobile hose.”
In the autumn of the following year the building was reconstructed. The building facing the street was given a new top floor with living quarters, and the central building was completely rebuilt and converted into flats. In the loft there was a studio flat where the National Museum of Science and Technology, founded by the Academy, opened its first small temporary exhibits in 1926. Unfortunately the magnificent riding house was gone forever. IVA’s founder, Axel F. Engstrom, took over the real estate company’s shares in March 1919 enabling the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences to be housed under its own roof right from the start.
An important mission for the Academy is to provide a meeting place for the industrial, research and political communities, and meeting rooms are therefore in great demand. Over time we have grown into an efficient and well-equipped conference centre, and in the beginning of the 1980s, IVA’s Conference Centre opened its doors to the general public. Today the Conference Centre is one of Stockholm’s most frequented meeting places.