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
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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

二朗二郎 (17 months ago)
Rietveld is a genius! Nijntje colors and other simple colors make the house well-balanced. futhermore, every furniture is really practical and well-designed. you can comprehend the detail by the audio guide distributed to every visitor. It can spin Japanese voice, really helpful for me.
Paweł Paczkowski (18 months ago)
I like modern architecture (was modern in 1926) and there was very interesting.
Simon Tarr (18 months ago)
One of my all time favourite pieces of architecture. A bijou modern paradise built with love and imagination a testament to a great and free thinking mind and a true collaboration of artist and patron. A sensitive and truly interesting tour awaits all with the presence of mind to book ahead. Check out the website and if you can time your visit to coincide with one of the open days for the housing development created next door.
Agenda Volkers (2 years ago)
Really interesting tour! Note: it is necessary to make reservations.
Andrée Nordin Löfgren (2 years ago)
Amazing. If you are in the Netherlands please take the time to go (train + bus from Amsterdam about 45 min?) . A truly unique and iconic work of architecture and design. Audioguide avaliable in many languages.
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