Sunday, December 9, 2012

UNDERSTANDING THE DOMESTICITY OF THE RIETVELD-SCHRODER HOUSE: Part I

The Rietveld-Schroder House was built during a time of a great change: revolutions, new political ideas such as socialism, communism, universal suffrage, and the changing role of women (especially with regards to women's rights) were hot topics of discussion. This new world and discussion had a great impact on Truus Schroder, who, through Rietveld, her sister An, and her previous life with her husband Frits Schroder, began to formulate her own views on how she wanted to live and her new views on what domestic life should be. As the house was built in close collaboration between client and architect, both Rietveld and Truus Schroder had to agree with the design that Rietveld came up with. Unsurprisingly enough, both client and architect had a similar vision for the home: one whose form, and space represented the time of political and ideological upheaval that they lived in.  

"Our own times demanded their own form, I mean their own manifestation." (Gerrit Rietveld)
            
Insignia of the Netherlands Women's Rights Movement.


The programme that Truus Schroder gave Rietveld gives you an insight into the new ideas of domesticity that Truus Schroder had in mind. She highlighted the need for a home in which parents and children could be brought together in an open space. This space would ideally be one where both intellectual conversations and children's homework could be carried out. Truus, in later interviews mentions why she insisted on this open space:
             
"You see, I'd left my husband on three occasions because I disagreed so strongly with him about the children's upbringing. Each time, they were looked after a housemaid, but I still thought it was horrible for them. And after my husband died, and I had full custody of the children, I thought a lot about how we should live together. So when Rietveld made a sketch of the rooms, I asked, 'Can those walls go too?' To which he answered, 'With pleasure, away with those walls!'...that's how we ended with the one large space." - Truus Schroder (Women And the Making of the Modern House: A Social and Architectural History, Alice Friedman, p. 76).

Truus' dedication to being very involved in her children's lives is further proved by the size and placement of her bedroom. Although her bedroom on the second floor is placed towards the back of the house, in a more private area, it is still easily accessible through the open living area towards the southeast side of the building. In addition, the bedroom is smaller in proportion to that of her children's and is considerably smaller and less prominent that a traditional parents' bedroom of the era.  

  
Truus Schroder - Rietveld's muse and lover.

Taken from : http://www.chinesestudents.nl/sites/default/files/jpg_10.





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