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The Rietveld Schröderhuis (Rietveld Schröder House)

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The Rietveld Schröderhuis (Rietveld Schröder House)

The Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht was commissioned by Ms Truus Schröder-Schräder, designed by the architect Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, and built in 1924.

This small family house, with its flexible interior spatial arrangement, and unique visual qualities, was a manifesto of the ideals of the De Stijl group of artists and architects in the Netherlands in the 1920s, and has since been considered one of the icons of the Modern Movement in architecture.

The house is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site (see http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/965) because of its purity of ideas and concepts as developed by the De Stijl movement.

With its design and use of space, the Rietveld Schröderhuis occupies a seminal position in the development of architecture in the modern age.

The house is in many ways unique. It is the only building of its type designed and build by Gerrit Rietveld https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerrit_Rietveld. It also differs from other significant buildings of the early modern movement, such as the Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier or the Villa Tugendhat by Mies van der Rohe.

The difference lies in particular in the treatment of architectural space and in the conception of the functions of the building. Many contemporary architects were deeply influenced by the Schröder house and this influence has endured up to the present.

When the Rietveld Schröderhuis was built, it was at the edge of the city close to the countryside, and it was built on the end of a row of brick houses against the wall of the adjacent house.

It was cleverly designed to fit on the end of the row so it has no windows on one side, but the design with its living space upstairs makes the most of the views of the countryside on the other three sides.

All the functional areas (kitchen, laundry) are downstairs with normal rooms and load-bearing walls. But the space upstairs is flexible with moveable partitions that can open up the living space into one open-plan multi-functional living space, or cleverly close off areas for study, living or sleeping.

The exterior consists of a number of carefully-proportioned planes in plain white and shades of grey with contrasting straight lines in black and primary colours.  In this way it is a three-dimensional realisation of the principles of 'Neo-Plasticism' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Stijl and each elevation is a siimilar concept to two-dimensional De Stijl art works of the period in (such as now-iconic paintings by Piet Modriaan https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piet_Mondrian and Theo van Doesberg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theo_van_Doesburg).

The house still exists; it was lived in for 50 years by Ms Schröder-Schräder.  Restorations were undertaken in the 1970s and 1980s with great care, making every effort to preserve what was possible. All the original furniture was restored and positioned as in the 1920s.a has since been carefully restored and is in excellent condition.  You can visit the house which is a museum to itself (see http://centraalmuseum.nl/en/visit/locations/rietveld-schroder-house/)

The Model

This model represents the main proportions and features of the building in a build that should be economic as a LEGO building set using standard LEGO parts.

I have tried as much as possible to keep the clean lines of the original building and reduce the amount of studs showing in the construction, especially on the external faces and roof.

I wanted to get the transparency and lightness of effect of the glass in the windows, and I've used translucent brown bricks for windows which give the open but reflective effect of glass and although they do not have the black frames of the real windows they look right in this scale.

I've also used translucent bricks to represent the railings around the balconies, which are actually metal railings, but again this gives an effective representation at this scale, similar to my Bauhaus build - see https://ideas.lego.com/projects/142492.

Plates are used for some external plabes and rods are used for some of the vertical features. Although these are steel H- or I-breams in the real building I've used rods to represent their sizes and positions and prominence to the overal design concept.

The roof consists of a few large plates which can be removed to view the interior living space.

When visiting the actual house in Utrecht I was very impressed with the interior of the building. The upstairs living space is open-plan but can be subdivided by sliding black screens. I wanted to represent in the model the way that the space is zoned visually using different colours of felt and linoleum floor coverings, and I've kept as far as I can to the original colours in the model. I've also included the moveable partitions, using swinging door pieces, which can be swung open or closed.  However in the real house these are sliding partitions, so I've also included spare bricks so you can take the doors out and replace them with bricks representing  the folded partitions.

The open and closed partitions of the model are shown in the pictures looking down with the roof removed. 

I have not been able to represent all the interior fittings in the model, however as well as the coloured floors and the partitions I have included a couple of items of the yellow fitted furniture to give an idea of the colour balance of the interior.

In this scale there are many clever design features of the building that I have not been able to represent. However the external visual representation is pretty true to the original building and I hope that the ability to view the interior either through the windows or by removing the roof adds to your appreciation of the design and uniqueness of this building.

I hope you enjoy this model. Please support this idea.