NEW LIFE FOR A MODERNIST ICON

Fredensborg is reopening the former American Embassy

In 2021, the former American Embassy will reopen, with social and cultural spaces for everyone – neighbours, people working there and people in general.

A MONUMENT OF FRIENDSHIP

Eero Saarinen designed the Embassy as a monument of friendship to symbolize the strong bond between the United States and Norway after the war.

01.EERO SAARINEN (1910 – 1961)

The Finnish-American architect and designer Eero Saarinen is well known for his Neo-Futuristic style. His most famous work is probably the TWA terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. In addition to a host of iconic buildings, Saarinen designed furniture classics such as the Tulip Chair and the Womb Chair. Today, many see him as one of the greatest architects of our time. Or in the words of TIME Magazine: ‘The man who made modernism sexy.’ The former U.S. Embassy building in Oslo is recognised as one of Saarinen’s greatest achievements.

Portrait of Eero Saarinen
Tulpanstolen

02.THE BUILDING (1957 - 1959)

Utilising the triangular site to the fullest, Saarinen designed a trigonal embassy building for the United States. The 6,000-square-metre building consists of four floors plus a basement. 577 large inset windows give the façade a calm, yet lively feel. The building is elegant, and both its height and its architecture match the Palace Park, the Royal Palace, and its neighbouring buildings. But it is still monumental – after all, it was meant to symbolise the United States as a powerful, yet friendly neighbour.

Sketch of the corner of the embassy, with a man for scale
Inngang fra Hansteensgate

03.STYLISTIC EXPRESSION

The entire embassy - land, building and interior - is characterized by triangular forms.

Ceiling Angle

04.Life at the embassy (1959 - 2001)

Unknown to the people on the outside, the building was full of life. The Americans arranged dances in the basement, celebrated Halloween, and purchased cheap meat, liquor, and American goods in their very own duty-free shop. The library was particularly popular, with more than 6,500 library cardholders in 1971. Another important meeting place was the beautiful atrium in the middle of the entrance hall, where people could relax by an indoor fishpond.

Atrium
Fasade ut mot Drammensveien

05.Quote

Once one embarks on a concept for a building, this concept has to be exaggerated and overstated and repeated in every part of its interior, so that wherever you are, inside or outside, the building sings with the same message.

EERO SAARINEN
Atrium ceiling

05.FENCED IN (2001 - 2017)

Throughout the Cold War, security increased the distance to the public. After the terrorist attack September 11th, 2001, fences and bollards came up – the friendship monument was transformed into a fortress

Hovedinngangen fra Henrik Ibsens gate, befridd fra sikkerhetsgjerdene.

A MODERN RESURRECTION

When the Embassy reopens in 2021, it will again become available to the city's population – an open building with jobs, dining, culture and roof terrace.

Graphics/Solids/Red DiamondCreated with Sketch.
Ground floor with Tulip chairs
OutdoorCafe

Saarinen’s masterpiece will be more than just an office building. We want to create value for both the local community and the city itself

Ambassade fasade drammensveien

Saarinen said that the embassy building should resemble ‘a gentleman in formal attire’. We will restore the embassy to its original glory, both on the inside and the outside.

Atrium ambassaden

We are opening up the four stories rhomboid atrium

Invendig perspektive ambasseden

Several places in the building will become accessible to the public – for example the rooftop restaurant with overlook to Slottsparken on one side and the fjord on the other.

FOLLOW THE ROAD AHEAD

Get in touch if you like more information.

VISITOR ADDRESS

Henrik Ibsens Gate 48,

0255 Oslo

CONTACT US

Stensberggata 27,

0170 Oslo

hello@fredensborg.no

+47 23 29 20 00