City Icons: Amsterdam - Don't Miss!

Festive City Icons Kick Off with Talk by Linda Vlassenrood

MORE MIES - Pure Architecture in Haus Lange Haus Esters

An Elementalist and Mediterranean Architecture

Through a Bauhaus Lens: Edith Tudor-Hart and Isokon

Modernism Week Lecture: 10 Years of Iconic Houses

Aluminaire House Grand Opening

Exhibition Icons of the Czech Avant-Garde

Icon for Sale - Loos Villa: Haus Horner

SPECIAL – Iconic Dreams Europe - Sleep in an Iconic House!

SPECIAL – Iconic Dreams North America - Sleep in an Iconic House!

SPECIAL – German Greats!

SPECIAL - Vacances en France!

SPECIAL - Casas Icónicas en España!

SPECIAL – Dutch Delights!

SPECIAL – Iconic Artist Residencies

SPECIAL – Northern (High)Lights!

SPECIAL – Iconic Housing

SPECIAL – Women & Iconic Houses

Winy Wants a World Wonder

Welcome Atelier Volten!

Public Screenings and Private Streaming of Pioneers of the Dutch Modern House

Sleep in a Modernist Gem – Huis Billiet in Bruges

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - 100 Years Van Zessen House

Exclusive Tour and Film Screening Package

The Last House Designed by Adolf Loos Will Be Built in Prague

Icons of the Czech Avantgarde

Icon for Sale - Casa Legorreta

Rietveld Day: 200 Enthusiasts Explored 3 Utrecht Icons

Hurray! 10 Years Iconic Houses

7th International Iconic Houses Conference A Huge Success

Meet Conference Co-Chair Iveta Černá

Meet Conference Co-Chair Maria Szadkowska

Eighteen Iconic Houses Under One Roof

17 June - 'Pioneers-film' Screening Amersfoort

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Van Eesteren House Museum

Welcome Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky Zentrum in Vienna!

Welcome Vila Volman! Jewel of Czech Functionalism

Movie Night: Adolf Loos- Revolutionary Among Architects

'Inside Iconic Houses' Case Study House #26 Webcast in Webshop

Inside Iconic Houses at Taut’s Home in Berlin

Rediscovering Forgotten Loos Interiors in Pilsen

'Inside Iconic Houses' - Online Tour Program

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - The Diagoon House

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Rietveld Schröder House

Rietveld Houses Owners Association

Corberó Space: New Life for Hidden Jewel

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Pierre Cuypers' House and Workshops

Reeuwijk Celebrates Completion of Restoration Rietveld Homes!

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Van Doesburg Rinsema House

Welcome Rietveld's Van Daalen House!

Architect Harry Gessner Passed Away at 97

Watch Pioneers of the Dutch Modern House Now On Demand

Icon Saved: Dorchester Drive House

Welcome Umbrella House!

Iconic Houses in the Netherlands – Berlage’s Masterpiece

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Het Schip

Inside Iconic Houses - Tour of Maison Cazenave

Inside Iconic Houses Tours Vizcaya Museum & Gardens in Miami

Casa Masó Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

Inside Iconic Houses tours Roland Reisley's Usonian Frank Lloyd Wright House

Rietveld’s Experimental Housing in Reeuwijk Saved

Serralves Villa after restoration

Portraits of the Architect - Interview with Gennaro Postiglione

Test Labs for New Ideas - Interview with Natascha Drabbe

Inside Iconic Houses - Isokon Building

Inside Iconic Houses - 16 December: Sunnylands with Janice Lyle

BCN-BXL Coderch-De Koninck - Beyond Time

New Chairman Architect Nanne de Ru on The Perfect Platform

Health and Home - Interview with Beatriz Colomina

A Life Less Ordinary – Interview with Valentijn Carbo

Invisible Women - Interview with Alice T. Friedman

Winy Maas on the Green Dip

Anita Blom on Experimental Housing of the 1970s

Women’s Worlds - Interview with Natalie Dubois

The Culture of Living - Interview with Robert von der Nahmer

Hetty Berens: A Fresh Take on Modernism

Niek Smit on Supporting Modern Heritage

Alice Roegholt on Amsterdam’s Working-Class Palaces

July is Iconic Houses Month

Hans van Heeswijk on The Pioneers of the Dutch Modern House

Wessel de Jonge on Dutch Icons at Risk

Save Maison Zilveli - Sign the Petition!

How a Building Tells a Story - Recorded Event

Toolkit for Owners of a Modern House

13 Aalto Sites Nominated for UNESCO World Heritage

Villa Beer At Risk - Sign the Petition!

Business Cards of Stone, Timber and Concrete in the Brussels Region 1830-1970

Exhibiting & Visiting Modernist Monuments

Fostering Well-Researched Responsible Design


Enjoy a virtual visit to the California House and a Q&A with architect Peter Gluck

Exhibition 'Modernism and Refuge'

A Hidden Gem of Postmodernism

New Centre for Historic Houses of India

An Online Chronicle of the Douglas House

Villa Henny, geometric style icon in The Netherlands

A Mendini temple in Amsterdam

IH-lectures USA & Canada Feb 2020 on Melnikov House

Sponsors and Friends

An Afternoon with the Glucks

Chandler McCoy on Making Modern Houses Sustainable

Catherine Croft: Getting Away from the Demolition Mentality in the UK

Patrick Weber on Discovering an Unknown Icon

Fiona Fisher on Iconic Interiors

Jocelyn Bouraly on Villa Cavrois

Mireia Massagué on finding success through a new kind of partnership

Danish Moderns – Looking Back at Our Mini-Seminar

Venturo house complements Exhibition Centre WeeGee’s offering

Lecture report: Remembering Richard Neutra

Hôtel Mezzara and the Guimard Museum project

We welcome 13 new members!

BREAKING NEWS: 8 Wright Sites Inscribed on Unesco World Heritage List!

LECTURE 29 August - Raymond Neutra: My Father and Frank Lloyd Wright

Iconic Reads

Our Badge of Honour

Iconic Houses End Year Message

City-ordered rebuild of landmark house stirs debate: Appropriate or overreach?

Kohlberg House Restoration in Progress

Planned Demolition of Rietveld Homes in Reeuwijk

Renovation Gili House in Crisis

An Iconic Saga

Restoring Eileen Gray’s Villa E-1027 and Clarifying the Controversies

Modernism on the East Coast

Iconic Houses in Latin America

Conference testimonials

House Tours May 2018 

Expert Meetings

Natascha Drabbe - Iconic Houses: The Next Chapter

Terence Riley -KEYNOTE SPEAKER- on Philip Johnson

New era for Villa E-1027 and Cap Moderne

Hilary Lewis on Philip Johnson and his Glass House

John Arbuckle on Great House Tours

William D. Earls on the Harvard Five in New Canaan

Stover Jenkins on Working for Philip Johnson

Frederick Noyes on his Father’s House

Scott Fellows and Craig Bassam on their Passion for Preservation

Jorge Liernur -KEYNOTE SPEAKER- on Latin American Modernism(s)

Fabio Grementieri on Modernism in Argentina

Catalina Corcuera Cabezut on Casa Luis Barragán

Renato Anelli on Lina Bo Bardi’s Casa de Vidro

Tim McClimon on Corporate Preservation

Amanda Nelson on Building Donor Relationships

John Bacon on Planned Giving

Jean-Paul Warmoes on the Art of Fundraising in America

Chandler McCoy on Why Less is More

Katherine Malone-France on Moving with the Times

Anne Mette Rahbæk on Philanthropic Investments and Preservation

Peter McMahon on Saving Modern Houses on Cape Cod

Toshiko Kinoshita on Japanese Modern Heritage Houses

Roland Reisley on Life in a Frank Lloyd Wright House

5th Iconic Houses Conference May 2018

Kristin Stone, Pasadena Tour Company

Restoring the past: The Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Home Studio

Behind the Scenes: Hendrick de Keyser Association

Crosby Doe, Architecture for Sale

Latin America Special – Focus on Mexico

De Stijl in Drachten

Preserving the Nancarrow House-Studio

Meet the Friends - Nanne de Ru

Latin America Special – Focus on Brazil

Jan de Jong’s House is Latest Hendrick de Keyser Acquisition

Stay in a Belgian Modernist Masterpiece

In Berlin’s Modernist Network

Rietveld-Schröder House Celebrates De Stijl Anniversary

Meet Our New Foundation Board Members

Maintaining Aalto's Studio – Linoleum Conservation

Virtual Tour of a Papaverhof Home in 3D

Getty Grant for Villa E-1027

Plečnik House in Ljubljana

Iconic Dacha

Iconic Houses: A Bohemian Road Trip

Work in Progress: Capricho de Gaudí

11 Le Corbusier Homes now on Unesco World Heritage List

At home with Le Corbusier

Henry van de Velde’s Study in Haus Hohe Pappeln Restored

Lynda Waggoner reports

A Conference to Remember

4th International Iconic Houses Conference

Guest of Honor - Harry Gesner

Fallingwater: European Lecture Tour

Wright Plus 2016 Walk

Susan Macdonald, Getty Conservation Institute

John Mcllwee, Garcia House

Meet the Friends – Elisabeth Tostrup

Iconic Houses: The Story So Far

Willie van Burgsteden, designer Iconic Houses

Buff Kavelman, Philanthropic Advisor

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Sheridan Burke, GML Heritage

Meet the Friends - Raymond Neutra

Sidney Williams, Frey House

Franklin Vagnone and Deborah Ryan, Museum Anarchists

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Toshiko Mori, architect

Malachi Connolly, Cape Cod Modern House Trust

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Lucia Dewey Atwood, Eames House

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Speaking Volumes: Building the Iconic Houses Library

Sarah Lorenzen, Neutra VDL Studio and Residences

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Meet the Friends - Thomas Schönauer

Wim de Wit, Stanford University

Linda Dishman, Los Angeles Conservancy

Jesse Lattig, Pasadena Heritage

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Marta Lacambra, Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera

Natascha Drabbe, Iconic Houses Foundation

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Christen Obel, Utzon Foundation

Elena Ruiz Sastre, Casa Broner

Fernando Alvarez Prozorovich, La Ricarda

Tim Benton, Professor of Art History (Emeritus)

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Triennale der Moderne 27 September - 13 October 2013

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Annual Wright Architectural Housewalk: 18 May

Frank Lloyd Wright Homes on Screen

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Neutra’s House on Screen

Michel Richard, Fondation Le Corbusier

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Round Table Review

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25 October 2017

De Stijl in Drachten

In 1921 Cees Rienks de Boer (1881-1966), a local architect, was commissioned by Smallingerland (the municipality in which Drachten is located) to design sixteen residential buildings and a school, as part of the expansion plan Stapenséa 1918. The residences of the so-called Parrot District are middle-class housing. De Boer sent his designs to Theo van Doesburg, who, together with architect J.J.P. Oud, critiqued it. Their comments led to certain alterations and additions, such as the cubistic bay windows. These residences and the new school Rijkslandbouwwinterschool were built on the former First Parallel Road, nowadays called the Torenstraat, Houtlaan and Oosterstraat.

Van Doesburg’s Parrot District
Through the mediation of Evert Rinsema, Van Doesburg was given the opportunity to design a colour scheme for both the exterior and the interior of this project. Van Doesburg designed a scheme based on the primary colours red, blue and yellow, together with the colours black, white and grey for the houses. He also included the gardens of the houses in the colour plan. Given free rein, he incorporated all manner of theories into his plans. Sometimes he took the architecture into account; sometimes he simply did as he pleased.
For the interiors, he used the open-beam ceilings as an interplay of lines in his composition, and for the walls Van Doesburg used grey wallpaper to create colour planes that remained detached from the ceilings and skirting. For the gardens, he designed colour planes using plants, coloured patios and garden paths. The artist chose to use secondary colours such as green, orange and purple for the school building, providing a stark contrast with the primary colours of the residential buildings. The design plans clearly show all of these aspects: architectural theories, classically coloured architectural drawings, free interpretation of architecture and urban design as colour planes and subtle colour compositions with wall coverings and coloured paper.

Besides the colour schemes, De Boer asked Van Doesburg to design two stained glass windows for the school: one to be placed in the staircase in the north-façade and one above the entrance in the west-façade. The requirements for the windows were that the depictions had to be related to agriculture and could not be abstract. Therefore, the windows depict a multitude of agricultural labourers, ranging from sowers to mowers, and spaders to harvesters. Van Doesburg applied a method to this design which he called ‘doorbeelden’, which meant that he simplified an image to a collection of geometrical shapes and bright colours. Drawn designs and studies for these windows are a part of the collection of Museum Dr8888.

This unique project to design sixteen residential buildings and a school, turned out to be quite controversial. It was new for an artist to have such freedom to apply art to architecture. However the inhabitants of Drachten were far from happy and soon the neighbourhood got the negative nickname of ‘the Parrot District’ (which has persisted to this day). In less than a year the houses were repainted in more conventional colours and the colour schemes of the school building were never implemented. The school board considered it to be inappropriate to expose the students to such modern ideas. It would take sixty years for the school to be painted in the intended colours in the late 1980s.

Even nowadays the colour schemes are controversial. In 1988 the original colours were brought back and the “Stichting Theo van Doesburg Drachten” (The Theo van Doesburg Drachten Foundation) was established to maintain the restored designs. The Parrot District is an exceptional residential district in the Netherlands and even more so for the province of Friesland. An artist was involved in the design and execution of the project from the early stages. For both the artist and architect it was a groundbreaking experiment.
The architect De Boer was mostly known for his rather traditional architecture. Some of his projects, ranging from farms, residences and commercial spaces can still be found in Drachten. He was interested in De Stijl, but did not proceed to plaster the walls of the Parrot District white or to make the main building material concrete, which was considered the epitome of modernity back then and which Oud and Van Doesburg thought was necessary to accentuate the colourful windows. This was most likely due to financial constraints, although De Boer already struggled to get the extremely modern colour schemes approved by the local government.
The proposal to finish the corners of the buildings with iron and glass never materialised. Van Doesburg’s colour schemes were inspired by the typical usage of primary colours in De Stijl. Many of the sketches and designs for the interiors and exteriors made by Theo van Doesburg are part of the collection of Museum Dr8888.

The Van Doesburg-Rinsema House
In 2011, Museum Dr8888 devised plans to restore one of the houses in the Parrot District and turn it into a museum house, the so-called Van Doesburg-Rinsema House. The museum examined the question of whether, following the example of the Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht, this house could serve as a branch of Museum Dr8888. One of these residences is currently being returned to its original state in both its interior and exterior, following extensive historical and architectural research. Research was also conducted on the colours of the residences, which is generally a difficult process. The project in Drachten proves that it does not have to be.

Research and Reconstruction
Research has been done in the history of the district’s buildings and their colours. Van Doesburg’s letters, in which he describes which pigments were to be used and what he thought of the result, were also examined. The first phase of the research, with help of the Rijksmuseum and the University of Amsterdam, into the in-situ paint layers showed quite clearly that the original layers of paint were still present underneath over a dozen later layers. Fragments of wallpaper were also found in the houses that correspond with Van Doesburg’s original samples and design drawings. Initially it was unclear whether Van Doesburg’s plans for the wallpapers were implemented and if so, in which manner. Through archival research, in-situ research and reconstructions it could be concluded that the wallpaper was most likely implemented in the initial construction of the houses, but not entirely as envisioned by Van Doesburg.
The results of the archival research demonstrated that the wallpaper was of great relevance for the whole colour scheme of the house and that Van Doesburg used it as a starting point for the colours. This gives an interesting insight into the design process of the artist. In addition, it could be concluded that the way of ‘framing’ the wallpaper with white borders (by paper or by paint) was of great importance for Van Doesburg, as he also emphasized this in his plans. However his envisioned method of hanging wallpaper in the bedrooms could not be executed as he had drawn the positions of the windows and doors incorrectly on his drawings to De Boer. This resulted in the absence of white borders.
Instructions for the application of wallpaper can be found on a document made by Van Doesburg in which he linked a list of wallpapers samples to the colour harmonies. Various names and addresses were also noted on the document, as were locations such as ‘Upstairs’ and the amounts of wallpaper available to him. The samples on this list were examined on their origin, pattern style, printing process and aging. Original wallpaper fragments were also found in another house of the Parrot District. One of these fragments was then digitally reconstructed to a full pattern and was printed for the reconstruction of the residence.

The Future of the House
Starting on the first of June, 2017, Museum Dr8888 and the Van Doesburg-Rinsema House Foundation will start special programming for the museum’s Van Doesburg-Rinsema House. Despite the delay in the realization of the historic residence, the museum and the Van Doesburg-Rinsema House Foundation are making it possible for visitors to visit the house for a preview of the work in progress. Additionally, it is possible to get a first glance of how the rest of the residence will look like thanks to a purpose-built virtual reality app. The app, developed by Grendel Games, provides an interactive 3D-preview of the finished house: a virtual look behind the scenes.
In the future, when the Van Doesburg-Rinsema House is completed, Museum Dr8888 will use this extra exhibition space for the display of facsimiles of the designs of Theo van Doesburg and Cees Rienks de Boer, and replicas of furniture designed by Thijs Rinsema.

Publication date 25 October 2017