Frithjof Stoud Platou

Aug. 21, 1903
Aug. 12, 1980

Frithjof Stoud Platou was a Norwegian architect.

After graduating from high school in his hometown in 1921 and spending some time as an apprentice bricklayer there, Platou went to Switzerland and studied architecture at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zurich from 1922 to 1926, with interruptions for economics studies in Zurich in 1924 and London in 1925. In 1926, he was employed as an assistant to architect Lars Backer in Oslo and worked for the renowned functionalist pioneer for three years. From 1929 to 1930, he worked in Germany with architect Eric Mendelsohn.

F. S. Platou's contributions to Norwegian functionalism have previously received little attention in architectural history. While working with Lars Backer, Platou was a collaborator on Horngården at Egertorget in downtown Oslo. When Backer died in 1930, Platou returned to Norway to complete the work on the commercial building, also known as Oslo's first "skyscraper." The experiences from his collaboration with Backer gave Platou valuable insights into the architectural language of modernism, and in several buildings from the 1930s, he demonstrates an excellent grasp of functionalist principles.

Frithjof Stoud Platou held several leadership positions in the Norwegian Association of Architects and the Oslo Architectural Association and was a co-founder and chairman of the board of Norconsult from 1963 to 1968.

Platou was the chairman of the Oslo Architectural Association when the Germans occupied Norway. During the war, he carried out several assignments for the Luftwaffe and Josef Terboven, including barracks, houses, and buildings. In 1941, he redesigned a railway carriage for the Reich Commissioner, providing meeting rooms and a suite for Terboven with a sleeping compartment, dressing room, and bathroom. The salon car now belongs to the Museum Gamle Vossebanen. After the war, F.S. Platou was deprived of membership in the Norwegian Association of Architects for 1 year, until January 1, 1947.

Membership in the Nazi-fied architects' association and particularly egregious cases of work for the occupation authorities resulted in the loss of membership rights in the N.A.L. for up to 3 years. The board found a mitigating circumstance in that the work was limited to a relatively short period, and F.S. Platou had, as an employer, many under his employ.

With a rare combination of expertise in architecture and economics, Frithjof Stoud Platou became known as an architect with business acumen. Soon after he started his own practice in 1930, his first name was shortened to initials, and the firm F. S. Platou became a well-known name in the Norwegian architecture community for almost three generations of the 20th century. In 1971, the architectural firm was converted into a joint-stock company and simultaneously became one of Norway's largest. Platou had a prolific output and was behind many well-known buildings in the Oslo area, as well as throughout the country. He often served as an important advisor to the professional community, and his industriousness became a role model for many colleagues.