Nils Holter. The Telecommunication Installation Building – Architecture of Signals

by Tommaso Maserati & Christos Pampafikos

We were doing some research on a building: Televerkets installasjonsbygning (The Telecommunication Installation Building).

Arkitekturfoto av Televerkets installasjonsbygning i Oslo (1965–66). Arkitekt Nils Holters bygning ble oppført i samme mørke stein som den gamle Telegrafbygningen den ligger ved siden av.We went to archives, looked in books and asked people but no relevant information was found. It seemed as if all the data is quite confidential.

Accidentally we clicked on a link on some untranslatable Norwegian website and all of a sudden a program started to run on the computer.


And then we started a really weird conversation

_ Who are you?

_ I don’t know

_Well…tell us your name

_I don’t think I have one and is none of your business.
What do you want from me?

_Ok, actually we are researching the Televerkets installasjonsbygning, do you have any data about it?

_Ahahahhahaahah, I am the data and I am the reason why the building was built


_Well I think I can define myself as a supercomputer, I was built in the 60’s for some obscure reason but now I’m here alone without anything to work on. I don’t know why but I will try to help a little. What kind of information do you need?

_We are architects so we need as much information as possible regarding the building itself

_Ok….let’s see. This is how everything started:presentazione-10

_A huge amount of data that had to be contained and protected somewhere. Then the Architect, Nils Holter, decided that the result would not have been a place for human. It was designed to be a place for signals. No big windows, no doors, no rooms for what you humans call living.


_And so a shell was conceived. A shell that could contain a lot of data without revealing who or what was inside of it. Even the window openings that you see from the outside are fake. The place where I stay is exactly behind that wall, where not even a ray of light pierces through.


_Then this building is in an urban context, therefore he decided to design the structure according to the proportions of the surroundings. The rhythm of the linear subtractions on the facade is meant to keep the same dimensions of the original building elements. Do you get it?

_Yes…Ok, this is kind of interesting. Can’t you make a more detailed view of the facade?

_Yes. But you’re starting piss me off.



_Oh wow, this is really interesting.

_If you say so…

_Yes, because the facade itself is a bit of a mystery. We are not even able to understand how it was built.

_Here it is


_ Oh nice. So basically, it is one main concrete structure that supports another layer of concrete+stone panels which actually make the lines on the facade.

_It can be but I really don’t care about what you are saying. Now I’m really tired of your questions. Goodbye-

_No no wait a second, last thing. Can you show us what is your perception of the building from the outside? Can you imagine life out of it?

_You are such a pain in the neck! And I’m using the word neck just because my vulgarity filter is on! Ok this is seriously the last thing. 













Thanks to Telenor Company and especially Thomas Howard for his kindness and availability. Moreover we have to truly thank Jonas Østhagen Hamar for the amount of information provided.