Schröderhouse, the origin of flexibility?

The Rietveld Schröderhuis in Utrecht 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 and flexibility. With its radical approach to design and the use of space, the Rietveld Schröderhuis occupies a seminal position in the development of architecture in the modern age.(


Static multifunction furniture

The architects added a massive two-level timber structure.The furniture contains all of the functions that a “man about town” might need :  bathroom, bedroom, kitchen and a small mezzanine overlooking the main living space.



Whether for a single person or a family, adding a large, bold object like this in the middle of a living space is a creative way to effectively double the floorspace of a living area…provided that you have sufficiently high ceilings, of course.

Various functions in one room

By moving the walls he can change the function of the room. By sliding one wall out, he can also divide the space, to create two separate rooms. Walls can be opened up to the balcony, and it can be used as an extension of the space in the dwelling.

“I don’t move. I’m always here. The house moves for me”

“Inspired by small boats — their flexibility”

Multifunctional Space

The “furniture” in itself can be static, but it can create a room different functional spaces depending on how you use it. The other solution is that the house/furniture around you is totally flexible. This way you change the function of the space, without moving to a different location.

Diagram multifunctionality

Flexible furniture : The examples we’ve seen, works very well for one person! A lot of the solutions we looked at take the flexibility expression very literally. The various spaces and functions in the house are created as you move the furniture and walls. This is not necessarily the best solution for the daily life, especially if more than one person is living there permanently.  By having totally flexible surroundings, you also have certain limitations. Sometimes you can’t do two different things at the same time, like sleeping and cooking. Some flexible solutions can still be useful to save square meters (ex: guest bed, working space)

Nr 3Nr 1 Nr 2

Multifunctional furniture : Core service or service wall. This appears to be a better solution for the daily life. The “furniture” divide the space in several directions (2D & 3D), and it holds many functions, without moving all the time. The dwelling needs a certain height to be able to be able to benefit from a vertical element.

Questions about flexibility and multifunctional space

Will the flexible solution work for more than one person when there is just one space and you change the function of the room by changing the walls? Ex, how flexible can a house be for 4 people?

How could the flexible solutions be integrated into a realistic way of living for several people? How do you fulfill the need of every house member?

Will the transition be more in the way, than it will help?

Is it experienced as a totally new space when you “move the house around you”?

How can four people live comfortably together in a flexible house?
How do we create space for quietness and privacy?