Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Norway House, Cockspur Street SW1

Norway House was converted into the Norwegian Chamber of Commerce in 1920 by an architect from Stavanger called J.T. Westbye. It is pure historicist nationalism, using Norwegian granite and made-up Nordic details to hark back to a non-existent national architecture. As in Finland, architecture was seen as part of the process of separation from a foreign power, in this case Denmark.
Above the door is a statue of St Olaf, the first king of a united Christian Norway. It is by Gustav Laerum, a sculptor who is better known for satirical drawings.

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