Mackintosh’s Hill House Becomes an International Iconic House!

Historical Exhibition, Marie-Laure de Noailles, Painter, Conversation

Our Badge of Honour

Istanbul’s Modernist Ataköy Housing Estate is At Risk

Early Furniture Designs by Le Corbusier on Permanent Display in Maison Blanche

Photo Report City Icons Amsterdam

Healing Through Architecture

Reopening An Iconic Modernist Landmark

City Icons Kick Off with Talk by Linda Vlassenrood

MORE MIES - Pure Architecture in Haus Lange Haus Esters

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

An Elementalist and Mediterranean Architecture

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 Collective Housing

SPECIAL – Women & Iconic Houses

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

Winy Wants a World Wonder

Welcome Atelier Volten!

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

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

Meet the Friends - Frederick Noyes

Sheridan Burke, GML Heritage

Meet the Friends - Raymond Neutra

Sidney Williams, Frey House

Franklin Vagnone and Deborah Ryan, Museum Anarchists

Meet the Friends - James Haefner

Toshiko Mori, architect

Malachi Connolly, Cape Cod Modern House Trust

Meet the Friends - Penny Sparke

Lucia Dewey Atwood, Eames House

Cory Buckner, Mutual Housing Site Office

Jeffrey Herr, Hollyhock House

Speaking Volumes: Building the Iconic Houses Library

Sarah Lorenzen, Neutra VDL Studio and Residences

Ted Bosley, Gamble House

Keeping It Modern - Getty Conservation Grants

Meet the Friends - Thomas Schönauer

Wim de Wit, Stanford University

Linda Dishman, Los Angeles Conservancy

Jesse Lattig, Pasadena Heritage

Join us in Los Angeles! Update

Work in Progress: Casa Vicens

Work in Progress: Van Wassenhove House

Work in Progress: Villa Cavrois

Work in Progress: The Pearlroth House

Conference calls!

Follow us!

Third Iconic Houses Conference a huge success

Conference House Tours Barcelona

Marta Lacambra, Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera

Natascha Drabbe, Iconic Houses Foundation

Special speaker Oscar Tusquets

Jordi Tresserras, UNESCO Network ‘Culture, tourism and development’

Christen Obel, Utzon Foundation

Elena Ruiz Sastre, Casa Broner

Fernando Alvarez Prozorovich, La Ricarda

Tim Benton, Professor of Art History (Emeritus)

Susana Landrove, Docomomo Spain

Rossend Casanova, Casa Bloc

Conference Program 25 November 2014

Jordi Falgàs, Casa Rafael Masó

Documentary La Ricarda

Marga Viza, Casa Míla/La Pedrera

Celeste Adams, Frank Lloyd Wright Trust

Conference 25 November 2014 at La Pedrera

Henry Urbach, The Glass House

Victoria & Albert Museum London November 12

Tommi Lindh, new director of the Alvar Aalto Foundation and Museum

Iveta Černá, Villa Tugendhat

Lynda Waggoner, Fallingwater

Kimberli Meyer, MAK Center

Rent a house designed by Gerrit Rietveld

Barragán House on Screen

Gesamtkunstwerk – An Icon on the Move

Triennale der Moderne 27 September - 13 October 2013

Prestigious Art Nouveau mansions in Brussels open

September 14 + 15: Heritage Days in Paris

June's New Arrivals: Museum Apartments

Iconic Houses is now on Twitter and Facebook

Corbu’s Cabanon: Reconstruction and Lecture

Projekt Mies In Krefeld: Life-sized model of the Krefeld Clubhouse

New arrivals: Spain special

MAMO: Le Corbu’s ‘Park in the Sky’ open 12 June

Taut's Home wins Europa Nostra Award

Annual Wright Architectural Housewalk: 18 May

Frank Lloyd Wright Homes on Screen

Message from the Editor

Neutra’s House on Screen

Michel Richard, Fondation Le Corbusier

Symposium The Public and the Modern House

Melnikov House on Screen

Iconic Houses in the media

Message from the Editor

Round Table Review

Eileen Gray House on Screen

Copy Culture

At Home in the 20th Century

New 20th century Iconic Houses website launches

Philippe Bélaval, Centre des monuments nationaux

Posted November 10, 2022

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Rietveld Schröder House

  • Rietveld Schröder House (Centraal Museum Collection, Utrecht). Photo Stijn Poelstra.
  • Gerrit Rietveld en Truus Schröder-Schräder in Utrecht. Date and source unknown.
  • Interior first floor Rietveld Schröder House. Photo Mycosm93, Wikimedia Commons.
  • Rietveld Schröder House (Centraal Museum Collection, Utrecht). Photo Stijn Poelstra.
  • Rietveld Schröder House (Centraal Museum Collection, Utrecht). Photo Stijn Poelstra.
  • Gerrit Rietveld en Truus Schröder-Schräder in Utrecht. Date and source unknown.
  • Interior first floor Rietveld Schröder House. Photo Mycosm93, Wikimedia Commons.
  • Rietveld Schröder House (Centraal Museum Collection, Utrecht). Photo Stijn Poelstra.

A Radical Masterpiece

Gerrit Thomas Rietveld was born in Utrecht on 24 June 1888. He was the son of furniture maker Johannes Cornelis Rietveld and his wife Elisabeth van der Horst. Rietveld had five siblings. When he was 11, his parents picked him up from school and he went to work in his father's furniture workshop.

Text: Natalie Dubois

The young Rietveld clearly had a different vision of the furniture making profession than his father. His father mainly made furniture to order for the wealthy bourgeoisie in Utrecht. The furniture was classic and heavy, made of expensive woods and handcrafted. Rietveld was interested in relieving the furniture maker. It was hard work and that could be easier according to Rietveld. He developed by participating in drawing evenings and followed theoretical courses with architect Piet Klaarhamer. Through Klaarhamer he learned about the designs by the Dutch architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage and the American Frank Lloyd Wright. His interest in the new was sparked. Gradually he brought back the essence of the furniture in his designs.

Gerrit Rietveld struggled to break free from his Calvinist Reformed milieu in the 10s of the last century. Shortly after his marriage to Vrouwgien Hadders, he left his father's workshop to start his own workshop.

Truus Schröder-Schräder
In 1924 Rietveld receives the most important assignment of his life. The young widow Truus Schröder-Schräder asks him to build a house. This question would eventually lead to the construction of a masterpiece: the Rietveld Schröder House. Truus Schräder was born in 1889 in Deventer. She grew up with her older sister in a traditional wealthy Catholic family. She married Frits Schröder in 1911 and they lived in Utrecht where he had his law practice. The couple had three children. In the early 10's of the last century, they lived in a large patrician house on the Biltstraat, on the outskirts of Utrecht. It was a classic house with high-ceilinged rooms filled with heavy furniture, thick curtains, and carpets.

In 1924 Rietveld receives the most important assignment of his life  

Truus questioned herself about the life she led. She envisioned a free life but felt far from free. She didn't like the house she lived in either. She did not like the verticality of the architecture. Her husband suggested designing one room in the house according to her wishes. That room was the beginning of a long-standing collaboration with Rietveld and the beginning of a special love.

Schröder had already met Rietveld before, when he and his father delivered a desk for her husband's office. At that first meeting, Schröder said at the end of her life, it immediately became clear that they both had a different design in mind. At that meeting, a spark might have already jumped between the two.
In 1921 Rietveld renovated her room. The ceilings were optically lowered by working with horizontal colour surfaces. The furnishing was sober, and she placed peasant furniture there. The room contrasted sharply with the rest of the house, which was full and heavy furniture dominated. Schröder cherished the room and called it 'the room with the grays'.

Frits Schröder died in 1923. After his death, Schröder asked Rietveld to find and renovate a house for her and her three children. Because they couldn't find a suitable home, Truus Schröder asked Rietveld if he wanted to build a house for her. He had never done that before, but he said yes. They found a suitable piece of land on the eastern edge of the city of Utrecht, next to a row of recently completed houses, against a ditch and the polder.

The interior can adapt to the wishes of the residents  

Radically Different
Rietveld had a draft design ready within a day. Schröder was disappointed. She had something else in mind. Rietveld started again and came up with a much more spacious design, which pleased the client. Schröder had specific wishes and a lot of influence on the design. But which part of the design came from Schröder or Rietveld will never be answered exactly. We do know that Schröder mainly wanted to live on the top floor and had asked Rietveld to remove the walls there. In the design of the house, space is essential. Outside and inside flow into each other and merge, as it were.

The interior can be adapted to the wishes of the residents. On the first floor, several rooms can be created by means of sliding walls. The Rietveld Schröder House was built based on housing requirements and not from the outside. Rietveld and Schröder asked themselves the question: How will people live in the house? The sliding walls made it possible to live actively and consciously in the house. The house, now almost a hundred years old, was radically different from all the other houses of that time. Rietveld designed it without training and without examples. That was an incredible achievement. Truus Schröder lived there for sixty years until she died there in 1985. Rietveld lived there after the death of his wife in 1957 and died there in 1964. In 2000 the house was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. about life in the Rietveld Schröder House, Schröder wrote in her diary of 1970: 'If someone were to ask me: can you recommend such a life, such a house, I would say: if you are satisfied with a roof over your head and do not aspire to life in the house, but very much want to live outside, towards other people, then I say: no. The house asks a lot of you but also gives you a lot. Is laborious if you are very orderly and sensitive to all the little things that disturb you yourself. It takes a lot from you but can fill and enrich your life.’ The house made Rietveld a renowned architect. He has designed many buildings since its completion in 1925, whereby the concept of space remained crucial. But not one of these designs was as ground-breaking and became as famous as the Schröder House. A house that would never have been built without the idiosyncratic client, who pursued simplicity and austerity and had very clear ideas about living.

Pioneers of the Dutch Modern House
For those who are curious about more stories about the developments in Dutch residential architecture in the twentieth century, Iconic Houses has made a video in which five specialists discussing the following topics:

  • Hygiene and Health in the Modern Home by Hetty Berens, Curator of the Sonneveld House.
  • Palaces for the People by Valentijn Carbo, Architectural Historian at Hendrick de Keyser Monuments.
  • A Woman’s Place: Clients & Architects, by Natalie Dubois, Curator of Design at the Centraal Museum Utrecht.
  • Experiments with Space by Robert von der Nahmer, resident of the Diagoon House.
  • Home as a Self-Portrait: Architect ‘s Houses by Natascha Drabbe, Architectural Historian and owner of the Van Schijndel House.

The 1 hour video can be streamed via the webshop.

Natalie Dubois. Photo © Centraal Museum Utrecht/Jan-Kees Steenman, 2018 

About the author
Natalie Dubois studied museology at the Reinwardt Academy and art history at the University of Amsterdam and New York University. Since 2000 she has worked at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht, where she has been curator of Applied Art and Design since 2015.

This article previously appeared in Dutch Magazine Herenhuis #91, September/October 2022.

Posted November 10, 2022