NEW LIFE FOR A MODERNIST ICON

We are reopening the embassy as it was envisioned in 1959 – an open and friendly building with social and cultural spaces for neighbours, employees and the general public.

Fredensborg will open up the embassy to create a social and cultural space for everyone – just as the vision was when it was built in 1959.

A MONUMENT OF FRIENDSHIP

The triangular building that used to house the U.S. Embassy was financed by the Norwegian state as repayment for the Marshall Plan Norway received after World War II. Thus, the building became a monument of friendship. Read on to learn about the building’s history.

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 recurring theme of the embassy building is triangles. The shape characterises everything from the site and the building itself to the interior. Some offices and stairwells are entirely trigonal, as are other interior details.

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)

The terror attacks at the beginning of the century resulted in heightened security for U.S. Embassies all over the world. In Oslo, the building was enclosed by concrete flowerpots, bollards, and eventually a tall security fence. As a result, Saarinen’s monument of friendship became isolated from the world. In 2017, the U.S. Embassy relocated to a new building at Huseby on the west side of Oslo. Since then, the embassy building in the city centre has been empty.

Hovedinngangen fra Henrik Ibsens gate, befridd fra sikkerhetsgjerdene.

A MODERN RESURRECTION

When Fredensborg finally reopens the embassy building, we will keep the expression of the building and the façade as prominent features. The original vision of the architect will be fulfilled.

Ambassaden will be an open and friendly building. For neighbours. For Oslo. For everyone.

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, and to contribute to a greener city.

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, where you, just like the main characters of Lars Saabye Christensen's 'Beatles', walk in freely and enjoy the indoor fish pond.

Invendig perspektive ambasseden

We also dream of both public functions in the basement and a rooftop restaurant with stunning views of the Palace Park and the Oslofjord.

FOLLOW THE ROAD AHEAD

Get in touch to collaborate or enquire about this exciting new era of the Embassy.

VISITOR ADDRESS

Henrik Ibsens Gate 48,

0255 Oslo

CONTACT US

Stensberggata 27,

0170 Oslo

hello@fredensborg.no

+47 23 29 20 00