S01 // Rietveld Schröder House

1924, Utrecht, Netherlands

Image from Archilovers (ph.@Stijn Poelstra)


The Schröder House was designed and built by Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld. It is today one of the few modern houses designated as a World Heritage by UNESCO. There are many interesting architectural and historically important points about this house which one can write a full research on.

One can talk about its “De Stjil” influence, its abstracted formality, and distinct use of primary colours which were very much boldly and successfully put together. But what interested me the most about this house is Rietveld’s play with space. This is most apparent at the second floor (opening image).

One spot easily strong influence from Japanese “田” layout and use of flexible partition. The house does not occupy a very big footprint, but can be easily transformed from being four separate rooms into one open connected space. This is not something new, as it has been a norm in eastern houses for many years, but when injected into a western context of 1924 Dutch suburb, the juxtaposition highlights the concept of flexible architecture more clear than ever.

In contrast to architecture with walls that are solid and permanent, where spaces are defined and separate, where designing architecture is about designing a fixed and completed form, this house speaks of a world where architecture are undefined, never finished, constantly transforming, and architects design not of forms and think not of completed buildings, but of spatial mechanisms and constantly fluctuating user activities.

Also see >>
I02 // Programmable Architecture [COMING SOON]
I06 // A Brave New World [COMING SOON]