Gerrit Rietveld designed the Schroder house for Mrs. Truus Schroder-Schrader. After her husband passed away she required a smaller house for herself and three children. She lived in the house from its construction in 1924 to her death in 1985.
Mrs. Schroder provided criteria for the design of the rooms: 1. A bed should be able to fit in the room in at least 2 different positions. 2. Each room should have direct water supply and drainage. 3. Each room should have a door that gave access to the outside. Gerrit Rietveld was able to meet all the criteria and created a masterpiece by paying a lot of attention to details, including the paint color on the wall. It might seem like a mural canvas, but each area is painted a certain color for specific reasons.
The house has two levels.Inside there is no static accumulation of rooms, but a dynamic, changeable open zone. The ground floor can still be termed traditional; it consists of the kitchen/dining/living area, a reading room, a studio space which until 1933 Gerrit Rietveld used for his own office, the servant s bedroom, and a storage room. 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 was. Mrs Schroder, 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. 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 color. Colors where 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 colors.
The location of the house used to be considered as the outskirts of Utrecht, and has an unobstructed view. Rietveld designed the house with that in mind, with a window on the upper floor that opens up the corner of that floor to the exterior. It was used to provide Mrs. Schroder with a great view, until a highway was constructed in front of the house.
The house is one of the best known examples of De Stijl-architecture and arguably the only true De Stijl building. The house was restored by Bertus Mulder and now is a museum open for visits. In the year 2000 it was placed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
Contributed by ArchiTeam
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