Utrecht landmark

Rietveld Schröder House

This weekend I finally made it to an architectural landmark in Utrecht, the Rietveld Schröder House, built in 1924 on what was then the outskirts of town.  Quite obviously a very modern and striking departure from the buildings of the time, it was commissioned by a woman named Truus Schröder, whose husband had died leaving her with three children.  The architect was Gerrit Rietveld, who got his start designing furniture.  Rietveld’s design was inspired by the art movement De Stijl, most well known nowadays from the paintings of Piet Mondriaan (example below from 1921).

Mondriaan - Tableau - 1921

Remarkably Schröder lived in the house the rest of her life, until 1985, at which time the house was given to the Centraal Museum of Utrecht.  She had changed very little in the interior, so the house today is virtually as it was over 80 years ago, with furniture designed by Rietveld and many interior design features by Schröder.  She wanted an open living space upstairs, and this was achieved with a set of sliding walls that could be pulled out to divide the space or pushed back to open it up.  The innovative use of windows and steel beam structural components made for a light-filled interior quite different from most Dutch housing of the time.

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