Rietveld Schröder House

Utrecht, Netherlands

The Rietveld Schröder House was built in 1924 by Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld for Mrs. Truus Schröder-Schräder and her three children. It constitutes both inside and outside a radical break with all architecture before it. The house is one of the best known examples of De Stijl-architecture and arguably the only true De Stijl building. Mrs. Schröder lived in the house until her death in 1985. The house was restored by Bertus Mulder and now is a museum open for visits. It is a listed monument since 1976 and UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.

Inside there is no static accumulation of rooms, but a dynamic, changeable open zone. The ground floor can still be termed traditional; ranged around a central staircase are kitchen and three sit/bedrooms. The living area upstairs, stated as being an attic to satisfy the fire regulations of the planning authorities, in fact forms a large open zone except for a separate toilet and a bathroom. Rietveld wanted to leave the upper level as it was. Mrs Schröder, however, felt that as living space it should be usable in either form, open or subdivided. This was achieved with a system of sliding and revolving panels. Mrs Schröder used these panels to open up the space of the second floor to allow more of an open area for her and her 3 children, leaving the option still of closing or separating the rooms when desired. When entirely partitioned in, the living level comprises three bedrooms, bathroom and living room. In-between this and the open state is a wide variety of possible permutations, each providing its own spatial experience.

The facades are a collage of planes and lines whose components are purposely detached from, and seem to glide past, one another. This enabled the provision of several balconies. Like Rietveld's Red and Blue Chair, each component has its own form, position and colour. Colours were chosen as to strengthen the plasticity of the facades; surfaces in white and shades of grey, black window and doorframes, and a number of linear elements in primary colours.

There is little distinction between interior and exterior space. The rectilinear lines and planes flow from outside to inside, with the same colour palette and surfaces. Even the windows are hinged so that they can only open 90 degrees to the wall, preserving strict design standards about intersecting planes, and further blurring the delineation of inside and out.

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Founded: 1924
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in Netherlands

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Carlos Sarasola Orio (2 years ago)
An unmistakable icon of 20th century modern architecture, Gerrit Rietveld’s Schröder house is a must - see for anyone interested in art and architecture. It’s well worthwhile the trip to the pretty historic city of Utrecht. The house with all of it’s furnishings, windows, shutters, cupboards, sliding doors and carpets has been kept in wonderful condition. Remember to book in advance (at least one day before) to visit the inside, as it’s a very tiny place and the available visit times are limited.
Cal (2 years ago)
Beautiful piece of transformable de stijl early modernist architecture. Partitions and ladders are movable so that the rooms have multiple configurations. Ver pioneering though practicality is doubtable. Remember to make a reservation online and they close pretty early at 3pm so don’t be late.
Chris McMahon (2 years ago)
When I went it was closed for King's Day. But it is small and easy to walk around. Surprisingly excellent condition for being 100 years old. The admission ticket is crazy expensive at €19 so I likely would have skipped the inside tour even if it had been open. What were Utrecht officials thinking when they built that expressway across the street!?!?
Ósmy Kontynent (2 years ago)
Wow! A legendary place that started a new era. With the kindest staff on Earth! Many thanks! PS Book tickets in advance.
Andre Roessen (3 years ago)
Must see for every furniture and architecture enthousiast. The guides are very friendly and share their knowledge. Free audio tour and we even got a full demonstration of the moving wall panels. Rietveld made a masterpiece in 1923-24.
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