Daily Archives: November 24, 2011

UNESCO World Heritage Site #157: Rietveld Schröder House

Posted by on November 24, 2011

UNESCO World Heritage Site #157: Rietveld Schröder House

UNESCO World Heritage Site #157: Rietveld Schröder House

From the World Heritage inscription:

With its radical approach to design and the use of space, the Rietveld is an icon of the Modern Movement in architecture and an outstanding expression of human creative genius in its purity of ideas and concepts as developed by the De Stijl movement. It occupies a seminal position in the development of architecture in the modern age.

It was commissioned by Mrs Truus Schröder-Schräder, designed by the architect Gerrit Thomas Rietveld (1888-1965), and built in 1924. Mrs Schröder lived in the house for some 60 years, first with her children, then in the company of Rietveld, and finally alone. In the early years, until 1932, Rietveld kept a studio in the house; from 1958, after his wife died, he came to live there until his death. During this long period some changes were made in the interior, resulting partly from the needs of the inhabitants, partly from the experimental character of the building itself. The building is now a museum.

This is easily the smallest World Heritage site I have ever visited.

The Rietveld Schröder House is really just a small family home located in a neighborhood in Utrecht. Like many of the architectural World Heritage sites, it will probably be most interesting for students of architecture and design.

What makes the house interesting is how everything in the home seems to have dual usages or can be transformed into something else. Walls fold away, window coverings become wall furnishings, couches become beds and doors disappear.

The Rietveld Schröder House is not in the center of Utrecht. It requires a 15-20 minute walk from the center of town. A better option is to visit the Utrecht Centraal Museum (who operates the house) and rent a bike for the trip. They will provide you with maps to show you the route.

Entrance to the house is €12. Photography is not allowed inside and you can only enter on a guided tour.

This was the second stop in my November 2011 Eurail tour of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

7 Things This World Traveler is Thankful For

Posted by on November 24, 2011

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States today, and while you can take the boy out of America, you can’t take the American out of the boy. So in that spirit I thought I’d list the things I’m thankful for this year.

Air Travel – Given how much we complain about airlines and airports it might seem odd to be thankful for air travel, but I am. We often forget how easy it is to travel nowadays. In real terms, the cost of air travel is as cheap as it has ever been. The notion of a “jet set” which is a rich elite who can afford to fly is passe. Today, almost anyone who saves their money can fly to almost any corner of the world. If it wasn’t for the advances in air transportation, world travel would be much more difficult.