LINSTOW, Hans Ditlev Franciscus
(b. 1787, Hřrsholm, d. 1851, Oslo)

Biography

Danish-born Norwegian architect, who belonged to a noble family from Mecklenburg who were naturalized in Denmark.

Linstow matriculated in 1805 and earned a law degree at Copenhagen University in 1812. He first studied painting and drawings at the Art Academy in Copenhagen, while he at the same time studied law. After finalizing these studies in 1812, he went to Kongsberg, Norway (which then was a part of Denmark) and studied in 1812-14 at the so-called Bergakademiet, which educated military engineers. He did not, however, complete this military education, but studied architecture at the same time.

He worked at the Danish Royal Court in 1814, but at the split between Denmark and Norway the same year, he went to Norway and worked in 1815-20 as a military lawyer at the cavalry. In 1818, he was one of the initiators of the Norwegian National Academy of Craft and Art Industry in Christiania. He taught, first plaster, and later building construction until he took his leave in 1840.

In 1823, he was commissioned to design the new Royal Palace in Christiania (later Oslo) and create the surrounding park. The Royal Palace is one of the most distinguished of Greek-inspired buildings in Norway, with an impressive Ionic portico. The building was influenced by German exemplars, especially the works of Schinkel, who advised on the design. From 1824 to 1827 Linstow was assisted by the Danish architect Christian Henrik Grosch (1801-1865), who was to make Oslo his home from 1825.

Since the Royal Palace was erected outside the main city area, Linstow proposed a plan in 1838 to connect the palace to the city. The main parts of this plan were realized in what is now the main boulevard and tourist area, the Karl Johans gate.

In 1828-35, Linstow worked on a set of standard drawings for Norwegian churches. About seventy different churches were erected all over Norway based on these drawings. From the 1840s Linstow promoted an architecture of timber, based on vernacular precedents, which he identified with nationalist aspirations.