Lars Backer

“Lars Backer – Architect. A Pioneer of Norwegian Modernism” is an exhibition about the architect who brought the International Style to Norway.

Lars Backer, førstepremieforslag, perspektiv av Ekebergrestauranten. Photo: Ukjent (Nasjonalmuseet)
With his designs for the Skansen Restaurant, the Ekeberg Restaurant and the Horn Building, the architect Lars Backer brought the International Style in architecture to Norway. Many people felt that a new era was imminent, and then it came.
Lars Backer, Restaurant Skansen. Photo: Platou arkitekter
Top: Lars Backer, førstepremieforslag, perspektiv av Ekebergrestauranten. Photo Ukjent (Nasjonalmuseet)
Above: Lars Backer, Restaurant Skansen. Photo Platou arkitekter
The mid-1920s were a time of transition in Norway. Neoclassicism was still the predominant architectural style: power stations, banks, housing developments, sports facilities, museums and cinemas all bore the hallmarks of Ancient Greek and Roman architecture. Backer, along with his contemporaries, was writing about the need for a new kind of architecture.
Lars Backer, Skansen restaurant. Photo: Ukjent (Nasjonalmuseet)
Lars Backer, Skansen restaurant. Photo Ukjent (Nasjonalmuseet)
In Norwegian and Nordic architecture, the year 1930 marked a watershed. A major exhibition in Stockholm that summer presenting a vision of architecture in the future aroused great public enthusiasm. In Scandinavia, the new style was nicknamed “Funkis” (an abbreviation of the word “Funktionalism”).
Lars Backer, Horngården, Prosjekt 1928. Photo: Nasjonalmuseet
Lars Backer, Horngården, Prosjekt 1928. Photo Nasjonalmuseet
 The year 1930 was also the year that Lars Backer died at the age of just 38 of a streptococcal infection. His three last buildings contributed to paving the way for the new architecture in Norway. The first two, Skansen Restaurant and Ekeberg Restaurant, encountered fierce criticism. In contrast, the Horn Building, which was completed in 1930, was well received. The new architecture was victorious.
Lars Backer, Spisesalen i restaurant Skansen. Photo: Ukjent (Nasjonalmuseet)
Lars Backer, Spisesalen i restaurant Skansen. Photo Ukjent (Nasjonalmuseet)

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