Thursday, December 2, 2010

Father and Son Grung

When it comes to design and architecture, Norway's contribution tends to be downplayed - something which I can find no good reason for. This is a shame, but below you will find examples of great norwegian architecture by father and son Grung.


Leif Kuhnle Grung, born 1894, was the pioneer of functionalism in his native Bergen, Norway. Having studied in Stockholm he was heavily inspired by Erik Gunnar Asplund, but also by Frank Lloyd Wright and the Bauhaus. Being the champion of modern architecture in Bergen he became both heavily criticised and highly respected. Kalmarhuset, perhaps his most striking, almost expressionistic, work in Bergen - built from white concrete and dark-red brick, received the following statement from Bergen's most important pre-modernist architect Fredrik Konow Lund: the so-called Kalmarhuset is a school-example of what not to build in a culture-village like Bergen".
In 1945, shortly after the war, Leif Grung was accused of conspiring with the Germans, and was thus expelled from the Bergen Architectural Association. Leif Kuhnle, who was described as having  "a remarkable personality with a distinctive artistic nerve" was devastated, and commited suicide.

A few days later, the first prisoners of war returned from Germany, who testified that not only was he falsely accused, but that he had been an intermediary for the escape routes to England, as well as a saboteur of German building plans.

In 1949 he was awarded the Houens Foundations Prize for Good Architecture posthumously for his Blaauwgården building.

Villa Lau-Eide, 1935

(photo by Klaas Vermaas)
 Kalmarhuset, 1936.

(Photo by Thorir Vidar/ )

Blaauwgården, 1936. The building is aesthetically divided into two wings to represent its functions: offices on the left - storage to the right. The building also incorporates elements of traditional dock architecture in Bergen.

(Photo by Thorir Vidar/ )

Sources and further information:

To be continued.


  1. Mycket hög kvalité på pennföringen....och den vita villan har terrass som räcker för en hel kvarter (utsikten är kanske inte heller fy skam). Aldrig hört talas om honom...synd med slutet.

  2. Han verkar nästan uteslutande ha byggt i Bergen. Jag tror de är lite isolerade där, vilket förklarar hans anonymitet.

  3. Villa Lau-Eide! Mycket intressant text och vilket tragiskt levnadsöde. Jag tycker också att han verkar ha varit något av en mästare på att hantera linjer och former.

    jag ser fram emot fortsättningen och tänker inte googla.

  4. Fortsättningen handlar om hans son. Googla på du, men det finns tyvärr inte så mycket information om någon av dem.

  5. spennende lesning, si gjerne fra om du har noe info som linker Grung opp mot frank lloyd wright!