Subsequent to the First World War in 1924, De Stijl group (known for simplicity of forms) designed a free flowing private residence for Mrs Truus Schroder Schrader. The Schroder house consists of horizontal and vertical planes are coloured in indistinct red, blue, yellow, white, and black; an environment where Mondrian’s fine art work comes to life. The co-designer of the Schroder house – Gerrit Rietveld, born in 1888 (the maker of the red blue chair), became a member of De Stijl in 1919.
Prior to this he was involved in joinery as it was his fathers’ business and in 1911. He started his own business making and designing cabinets. This lasted 8 years, where he also took architectural studies. At some stage in his studies, he met the founder of De Stijl. Every individual room, corridor and space is market out in a unique distribution of colour. The subdivided floor has no border between each colour; it is simply painted from one colour to another.
By entering through the front door, the occupant/ visitor is found within the hall, in which he/ she has direct access to the reading area, studio, WC, kitchen/ dining room and the staircase (keeping in mind that the reading area and the WC does not lead to any other space). Conversely, by entering the kitchen/ studio there is a flow of access to other spaces including the garden. The first thing the occupants become aware of when entered through the main door is the ‘central element’ of the Schroder house: the tightly compacted staircase.
It is highlighted through a cubic skylight place directly above it, on a flat roof. Due to the central positioning of the staircase, it is surrounded by a large number of individual spaces, in which includes; the kitchen/ dining area, sleeping area, working area. In the first floor the staircase is surrounded by the 3 bedrooms and the main living area. The staircase leads the occupant to the main living area – the heart of the house. This is where Rietveld integrated Mrs. Schroder’s vision of a design without the restriction of walls. Rietveld perfected the idea of a free flowing open habitable space.
Where extension of both physical and visual space is explored, this is achieved with the use of dematerialization of the partition walls. Therefore the space is forever changeable. The fact that there is no accumulation of fixed walls allows function to fully explore its limits. This allowed Mrs. Schroder and her three kids to enjoy the day, taking full advantage of the opened space created by the design of theses sliding partitions. It served as a great way for her kids to enjoy space whilst she had full awareness of the entire floor area.
This also integrates the idea of the interior merging with the exterior, the idea of no space restriction. The open space and the window positioning allowed a great view to the countryside. When night arrived or privacy was needed, the walls could simply be materialized again creating divided spaces. The first floor then consisted of three bedrooms a Glass used on the buildings fabric reflects the environment, thus incorporating Rietveld’s intention of designing a space that communicated with its exterior world.
Its environment at the time included a pleasing rural view, with a farm nearby; unfortunately it is now a highway. living room and bathroom/ WC. Although when the walls are out of the way and the first floor is open without any divisions and restrictions; Gerrit Rietveld’s design also reflected Mondrian’s masterpiece on the floor finishes. This approach defined space through colours painted on the floor. Mrs Schroder and her kids could easily be aware of the houses own individual space without the use of walls.