Høyblokken, in memoriam

The Høyblokka is a building located in the government quarter in the city of Oslo. It was built in the late fifties, finished in the 1958 by the architect Erling Viksjø.

Høyblokka is one of the tallest buildings in Oslo and it has become a symbol of the city. After the terrorist attack on Friday 22 July 2011 on the Government Centre, the building has been left as an empty shell removing all the uses it used to host: the Ministry of Justice, the Police Department and the Prime Ministers offices.

On 22 July 2011 a far-right militant racist, Anders Behring Breivik, placed a car bomb under the building killing eight people and injuring 209. The building was not full of people at that time, so the consequences could have been worse if Breivik had not been stuck by traffic earlier. But after the attack on the Center of Oslo, he went to the Utøya Island, where there was a Norwegian Labor Party youth camp going on, and opened fire killing 69 more people (mostly adolescents).

Hoyblokken after the attacks

Hoyblokken after the attacks

On the ground floor of the Hoyblokka there is a pavilion made by Viksjø that works as an extension of the building. It is called 22 juli senteret and hosts the memorial of the attacks, it guides you through all the details of that evening. The aim of the exposition is to keep the memory alive. 

The first room is a white square room with the portraits and information of the victims who lost their lives on the attacks both the government quarter in Oslo and Utøya, most of them teenagers on the camp.

Further in the memorial center, you will find a very graphic, big and detailed timeline on the wall connecting pictures, cuotes and tweets form the people or the news, which gives you a deep insight of what happened that evening and how this hit so hard on the Norwegian society. It attracts your attention until the end. 


Exposition Timeline



In the pavilion, Erling Viksjø continues using his characteristic work with concrete, conglobetong and naturbetong, which was also used in the tower. The Høyblokka has become a symbol for the city of Oslo not only for its monumentality and modernist principles, but also for the memory of the attack.


Concrete work. Naturbetong and Conglobetong

On May 2014 There was an Open Call to look for ideas on what to do with the building. Architects, artists and the general public would sketch their respective visions for the government district, in particular Erling Viksjø’s Y-block and Høyblokka which had a very uncertain future, and still have.


Memorial exposition
Image: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/arch/courses/syllabi/20143/A4105_001_2014_3_Hawkinson%20Dennis.pdf