Heinrich Ernst Schirmer

Heinrich Ernst Schirmer
Grave in Gießen, Germany

Heinrich Ernst Schirmer (27 August 1814 - 6 December 1887) was German-born architect most noted for his work in Norway.

Schirmer worked in Norway from 1838 to 1883 and put his mark on a number of public buildings.[1] He contributed significantly to the introduction of the so-called Swiss architectural style in Norway, based partly on Italian villa style, Gothic Revival, and neoclassicism.[2]

Schirmer was born in Leipzig, the son of Johan Gottlieb Schirmer and Johanne Sophie Kühne. He was the father of the architect Adolf Schirmer. He received his architectural education at art academies in Dresden from 1831 to 1834, and in Munich from 1834 to 1837. In Munich he was influenced by German neoclassicist architect Leo von Klenze and his nation-building and urban design ideas.[1]

Schirmer was construction manager for the rebuilding of the Oslo Cathedral between 1849 and 1850.[1] In 1853 he entered into a partnership with the young German architect Wilhelm von Hanno. Their partnership lasted until 1864. Among their works were Gaustad Hospital, Tangen Church (1854), Vestre Aker Church (1853–1855) and Østre Aker Church (1857–1860).[2] Schirmer and Hanno designed all stations on Norway's first railway line, the Hoved Line between Christiania and Eidsvoll, finished in 1854.[3] His partnership with Hanno ended in 1964. Among Schirmer's later works are the designs of churches in Øksendal (1864), Ørsta (1864), Fiskum (1866, burned 1902), Hareid (1877) and Vartdal (1877).[2]

Schirmer's first large commission was the restoration of the Nidaros Cathedral, which was then in ruins.[1] He started his preliminary investigations in 1841, finished the drawings in 1845, and the reconstruction work started in 1869.[2] Schirmer's last major works in Norway were the creation of the hospitals Rikshospitalet, built between 1874 and 1883, and Ullevål Hospital from 1887.[2] Schirmer was appointed as a Knight of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav in 1860.[1]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Bjerkek, Ole Petter. "Heinrich Ernst Schirmer". In Helle, Knut. Norsk biografisk leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Steigan, Geir Tandberg (2001). "Heinrich Ernst Schirmer (1814-1887)". Arc! (in Norwegian). Oslo: Artemisia AS. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  3. "Heinrich Ernst Schirmer". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
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