Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht (World Heritage)

Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht

The house is considered a milestone in modern architecture. It was shaped by the Bauhaus style, De Stijl and the International Style. Gerrit Rietveld designed the two-story house for a family in 1924. One of the new features was the possibility of changing the shape and size of rooms using movable walls.

Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht: facts

Official title: Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht
Cultural monument: House built by the Dutch architects Gerrit Thomas Rietveld and Truus Schröder-Schräder in 1924 as part of a terraced housing estate; two-story single-family house with geometrical-functionalistic exterior design; in the basement conventional floor plan with five rooms, on the upper floor sliding walls running in rails, which allow flexible room division; the furniture specially designed for the house can be easily dismantled and transported; first architectural implementation of the ideas of »De Stijl«, an artist group that existed until 1931 with the aim of geometric clarity and strict harmony through extremely simplified designs and restriction to the basic elements of the vertical, the horizontal and the three basic colors red, blue, yellow and the achromatic colors black,
Continent: Europe
Country: Netherlands
Location: Utrecht, southeast of Amsterdam
Appointment: 2000
Meaning: Exceptional example of the evolution of modern age architecture

Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht: history

1889-1964 Gerrit Thomas Rietveld
1911 Rietveld opens a furniture workshop
1917 Theo van Doesburg (formerly Christian Emil Marie Küpper, 1883–1931), Piet Mondrian and Jacobus Johannes Pieter Oud founded the magazine “De Stijl”
1917/18 Design of the famous “red-blue Rietveld chair”
1924 Construction of the Rietveld Schröder House
1928 Realization of an iron skeleton building with garage according to Rietveld’s plans (Utrecht)
1932 Design of the »zigzag chair«
1953-1954 Rietveld’s design for the Dutch pavilion for the Venice Biennale
1963 Rietveld’s design for the Vincent van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam) with other architects

A sense of primary colors and the cube – Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht

The credo of the founder of the magazine »De Stijl«, Theo van Doesburg, is simply: »It is the controllable form that I claim for painting, for sculpture and for architecture.« Gerrit’s designs were also created in this sense Thomas Rietveld: a unity of interior and exterior design. The structure had to be subordinate to the spatial plan. The design of the Rietveld-Schröder-Haus can be described as a triumph of the functional: a narrow, traditionally brick single-family house with jutting, cubic form elements, which was commissioned by Truus Schröder-Schräder after the death of her husband. When designing the house – she had to take into account the needs of Ms. Schröder as a single mother and her three children – Rietveld borrowed from Piet Mondrian’s constructivist painting, who combined geometric surfaces of different sizes and basic colors into one unit. The simplicity of the lines and the purity of the color were not only incorporated into Rietveld’s architecture, but also into his designs such as the famous “red-blue chair”.

When you go to the Rietveld Schröder House, according to commit4fitness, you first see the dark brick houses so typical of the Netherlands. At the end of such a row of bricks is Gerrit Rietveld’s design: a white, two-story cube. The location on the outskirts of the city was ideal for the client and their children. From the house with its surrounding windows you had a wide view over the flat polder of the area. This view has been blocked by a stilted motorway since the 1950s. Rietveld was so upset about the building that he recommended Ms. Schröder-Schräder, who was temporarily his partner, to have the house torn down. Thank God it didn’t come to that.

Ms. Schröder dreamed of a house that would allow flexible use in view of her family and be equipped with furniture designed by Rietveld. Thanks to the movable black walls on the upper floor, smaller rooms could be created from a large living room, all of which are equipped with cooking facilities and water connection, so that every family member could find a place to retreat. Window surfaces that run around the edge of the building and can be covered with roller blinds from the inside at night open up the interior to the surrounding area.

The basement corresponds to a conventional room plan. The hall, cloakroom and kitchen are located here. The colors white, black and gray adorn ceilings, door leaves and walls. Door and window frames are kept in a “tinted” green-yellow. The stairs are also designed as a bench. And Mondrian seems to have been the inspiration for the geometric color design of the hall ceiling. The white facade stands out clearly from the neighboring brick buildings, but does not completely dispense with “interspersed” colored elements. Rietveld apparently adapted Mondrian’s constructivist paintings: frames, pillars and supports are dipped in black, red and yellow and thus also resemble the lines and fields in Mondrian’s work, for example the “Tableau I” (Museum Ludwig, Cologne). Inside the house, shades of gray, green-yellow, but also blue and red as “splashes of color” predominate. The floorboards, the sliding walls, the fixtures and the railing of the stairs as well as the adjustable window sill on the upper floor are kept in these colors. This tilting window sill was where the kids did their homework.

The mailbox in the anteroom of the house is glass so that the landlady, when she went down from the upper floor, could already see on the landing whether mail had arrived. And if someone had rung the bell, she could communicate with the visitor from the upper floor using an ear tube.

Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht