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July 17, 2006 | by  | in Visual Arts |
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The Rietveld Schröder House

The Rietveld Schröder House was built in 1924 by Dutch artist Gerrit Rietveld and is a great (and possibly unique) example of De Stijl architecture. De Stijl (apart from being a White Stripes album) was a Dutch artistic movement of the early twentieth century. Its most famous proponent was Piet Mondrian, who preached the dawning of a new age after the destruction of World War I and utopian ideals about the primacy of the machine and such like things.

Rietveld pic. In terms of architecture Rietveld strove to open up the space within this house to achieve a more harmonious and integrated whole. “It does not strive to contain the different functional space cells in a single closed cube,” he said of his architecture, “but it throws the functional space…out of the centre of the cube, so that height, width, and depth plus time become a completely new plastic expression in open spaces…”

This was a radical break from traditional architecture. What Rietveld was proposing was basically the beginning of the “open plan” idea that real estate agents like to talk about these days. The upper floor at the house was based around a series of sliding panels, so you could have some rooms divided off and some not, just whatever took your fancy. The house is therefore never really in any form of stasis, but rather a constantly fluctuating space.

Designed by Gerrit Thomas Rietveld

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