HISTORY About ISF/History     

Institute for social research was established as a foundation in 1950, by the academic circles around Arne N�ss, Vilhelm Aubert, Eirik Rinde and Stein Rokkan. Immediately after the 2nd world war these people started working towards establishing sociology as a subject at university level. At the same time they were trying to develop appropriate tools for on order to solve current social and political issues. This pragmatic and interdisciplinary approach to social science and social problems, together with empirical methodology were the foundation on which ISF was established.

The institute was located in Arbiens gate at first, and moved into its current address in Munthes gate in 1960. Between 1950 and 1970 the institute had formidable impact on the development of Norwegian social research, and it is one but a few unspecialised social scientific actors besides the Universities.  

Munthes gate 31
The building in Munthes gate 31 was built in 1960 with considerable expansions the following 20 years. The Architects were Trond Eliassen and Birger Lambertz-Nilsen, Molle and Per Cappelen. At their 75th anniversary Association for Architects in Oslo chose this building as one out of 75 Anniversary constructions. The building was described as follows:

Institute for social research 1960
Architects: Trond Eliassen and Birger Lambertz-Nilsen, Molle and Per Cappelen.

The construction is a result of the concentration of experience and the definition of good architecture of the four architects mentioned above. In the early phase of planning it became obvious that the building had to be adjusted to its surrounding residential district. The solution was to build around an auricle
�where the researchers seek both privacy, a game of table tennis or a quiet walk in the gardens.

The Architects chose rustic materials
�expressing  simplicity, but not sterility � impression without overexposure.
�An art of balance between simplicity and richness.
That the building is an excellent contribution to the overall impression of the neighbourhood i no overstatement. The Architects has designed the entrance and the remaining structure with safe hands. As an example, the garden in front is lifted a few meters over street level in the same fashion as the neighbouring buildings.

The gardens were finished with the main building in 1960 and has been a delightful sight for both the institute and everyone passing by. The last stage of reconstruction was completed recently and the circle around the auricle is now fully completed. After the first building stage the architects stated that it could be hard to build houses without a scale model on the scale of 1:1. The building was granted with the Sundt award for excellent architecture.

Nicolai Beer, architect MNAL

Institute for Social Research, Postbox 3233 Elisenberg, N-0208 Oslo, Norway
Visiting adress: Munthes gate 31 Telephone: (+47) 23 08 61 00  Telefax: (+47) 23 08 61 01  
E-mail: isf@socialresearch.no