Magnus Poulsson was a Norwegian architect.
As a child, Poulsson lived in Drammen, but the family moved to Frogner in Oslo when he was 13. He studied under Herman Major Schirmer at the Royal Drawing School in Christiania and became so fascinated by the traditional buildings of Gudbrandsdalen that farms and woodwork were to inspire him for the rest of his life. He then furthered his education at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, collaborating for four years with the Swedish architect Carl Westman. Poulsson considered Westman and Gerhard Munthe his most important mentors.
He was one of the leaders in the generation of architects who recreated a Norwegian building tradition based on folkloric, Norwegian timber architecture. Poulsson's works include private homes, churches, and interiors. He is most famous for designing Oslo City Hall (1933–1950) and the Telegraph Building in Oslo (1916–1924) together with his cohabiting partner Arnstein Arneberg, a symbiosis he called a "marriage of pencils and erasers." His actual marriage was to Anna Bache-Wiig, and he was so fond of writing and reciting poetry that his parents felt they had to warn his future in-laws: "Of my sons, Magnus is the one I have the least hope for," his father said.
He is also known for Bærum City Hall in Sandvika (1925 and 1958), the Royal Norwegian Automobile Club Hotel in Oslo (1931), Eysteinkirka in Hjerkinn (Dovre), and Haslumseter Chapel in Bærumsmarka. Among his other works are Lille Tøyen garden city in Oslo (1918), the main work DFDS building at Karl Johans gate 1 in Neo-Baroque style in Oslo (1917), the restaurant at the Norwegian Folk Museum (1917), the Conservative Party House in Oslo, Framgården in Oslo, Toresplassen in Hole municipality (1934), Lysebu near Oslo (1951 and 1956), Gravberget Church (1956), as well as several churches, farm complexes, and villas.
Poulsson was chairman of the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Norwegian Monuments from 1917 to 1930 and chairman of the oversight committee for Nidaros Cathedral from 1931, a member of the Antiquarian Buildings Committee. He was one of the first recipients of the St. Hallvard's Medal in 1956. He received the Nidaros Cathedral Gold Medal in 1951.
Poulsson received the Sundt Prize in 1916 for the villa in Frederik Stangs gate 16 in Oslo and Houen's Fund Diploma in 1925 and 1930 for respectively the DFDS building in the same place and Bærum City Hall in Sandvika. He became an honorary member of the Danish Academy of Architecture in 1950, a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in 1950, and in 1950, he was appointed Commander of the Order of St. Olav.
He was the father of architects Esben Poulsson and Anton Poulsson.