Dragesteil architectural style originated and was used in 1880 and 1910, in Norway. The two architectural styles, National Romantic Style and Romantic Nationalism were the variants of this architectural style. The architecture of Scandinavia, mixed with the artwork of Viking and medieval tribes were the inspirations for Dragestil Architectural Style.
The historical remains from where this architectural style evolved were from Stave churches, Tune, Gostad, and Oseberg ships. This style has a lot of artwork inspired by Norse mythology such as carvings of serpents and dragons. This style was practiced in the modern era by architect Holm Hansen Munthe along with Balthazar Lange.
As this architectural style was established in Norway, a lot of stave churches were made from timber, and these old Norse churches evolved as an architectural style. In Norway, about 1000 stave churches were established in the 1100s. This typology of churches held significant importance in the country, which were later restored, and reconstructed in wood.
These churches have a column-beam structural system, where the columns are made of timber mainly known as staves and walls are also made of wallboards known as pilli. These posts hold an important cultural significance, the church stands on four posts, and if one of them falls, the church loses its significance.
Norway’s oldest written text says that these four columns represent the four gospels, representing the teachings of Christianity. At present, there are 28 historical churches in Norway. These churches were mainly constructed in valleys, forest lands, small cities with less population.
In the modern era, the architecture of stave churches with dragon and serpent motif was then blended with modern architecture by architect Holm Hansen Munthe along with Balthazar Lange. Holm Hansen Munthe one of the pioneers of Dragestil architecture. This architectural style is also known as dragon style for its carvings. During his practice, he designed a few churches, schools, and restaurants in Oslo. Few of these buildings later got burnt and were rebuilt.
1. Bolteløkka Skole
One of the schools designed by Holm Hansen Munthe is Bolteløkka Skole in Oslo. This is a boys’ elementary school. This school is constructed in a Romanesque architecture style. This campus had a toad pond that was quite large enough. Earlier, this pond was a recreational spot for the boys. Later when girls were allowed within the campus, the campus was divided into two yards, where one building was dedicated to girls and the other to boys.
Now, these buildings have changed their functions. Initially, this was an elementary school, now it provided education to primary school as well as a secondary school. Later during World War, this school was occupied by the German troops, for residential and storage purposes. After the liberation or freedom of Finland, these buildings served as refugee camps for the prisoners who were being treated by the Red Cross.
2. Rominten Hunting Lodge
This was a vacation house for Emperor Wilhelm of Germany. Holm H. Munthe got this project after Wilhelm had visited Oslo. Munthe designed this project in Dragestil style, with the help of Ole Sverre. This was completed based on Norwegian style, where he imported all the construction materials and workers from Norway.
This later turned out to be private property for Wilhelm, post World War I. After the second world war ended, this property was demolished. Now, it is considered a historic monument and is rebuilt in Kaliningrad’s Central Park.
3. Lilleborg Skole
Architect Holm H. Munthe designed this school in 1896, one of the most modern schools, with dedicated extracurricular activities spaces. Along with academics, this school also taught filmmaking, handicrafts, cooking, music, etc. In the period of the second world war, this school served as a residential facility for the German troops. These troops had imprisoned a lot of teachers, in order to stop the functioning of the school.
Later on, the school took a time of two years to get back in action and resume all the academic activities. In this time period, they rebuilt the school by adding various classrooms, staff rooms, toilets, etc.
4. Scandic Holmenkollen Park Hotel
This hotel was designed by Balthazar Lange. This building has turned out to be the best example of Dragestil architecture. This project was first built as a sanatorium by Holm H. Munthe, but later it was burned down. This sanatorium served as a medical facility for patients suffering from tuberculosis. After being burnt down, this hotel became a residential facility for german troops during the world war.
5. Uranienborg Church
Balthazar Lange designed this church in 1886. Brick was one of the most expensive materials available in Norway during that period. Balthazar used this material in the construction of the church. With a mix of Dragestil architectural style and stained glass windows, this church visually appears as a gothic church. Initially, the stained glass was designed by artist Emanuel Vigeland, but later was changed and reworked by architect Arnstein Arneberg.