Rietveld Schroder House
Prins Hendriklaan 50
Gerrit Thomas Rietveld
Gerrit Rietveld belongs to the
De Stijl movement. Other famous artists and architects involved were Piet
Mondriaan and J.J.P. Oud. As part of the movement, primary colors such as
red, blue, and yellow, are used predominantly.
Gerrit Rietveld designed the
Schroder house for Mrs. Truus Schröder-Schräder. 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.
The house has two levels. The
lower floor 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 upper floor was considered
attic space according to the building code. All the sleeping areas were
located up in that space and the bedrooms were divided only by portable
partitions. The concept was used so that the children could have a bigger
open space to play during the day and then close it up to have a more
private bedroom at night.
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. For example, on the door
there is an area painted black because it is likely the area that is
accessed the most and therefore most likely to be soiled.
Gerrit Rietveld started out as a
furniture maker and that shows up in a lot of the detailing of the house.
The design of the portable partitions, the window screen, the table for
the children and many more of the details show his ingenuity. 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.
Wilma Kwan 2003
How to visit
You can take bus 4 from the
central train station in Utrecht to the Hooghstraat, or another suggestion
is to rent a bike. If biking from the central train station, head east
towards Wilhelmina Park. Go through the park and you will be on Prins
Hendriklaan. Once you pass Gerrit Rietveldhof you will see the office for
the tour on your left hand side next to the Rietveld Schroder House.
The house is open for visits and
reservations are required. For reservations please call +31 (0)30 2362 310
or fax to +31 (0)30 2332 006. Each tour only allows a maximum of 10
people. The tour is about 1.5 hours long and includes a visit to the
building at Erasmuslaan 9 designed by Gerrit Thomas Rietveld also.