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Han Schroeder Architectural Papers,

 Digital Record
Identifier: Ms1987-064


  • 1926 - 1998


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from the Han Schroeder Architectural Papers must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Biographical Information

Han Schroeder was born in July 16, 1918 in Utrecht, Netherlands. Her artistic and architectural education began early, when her mother commissioned the architect Gerrit Thomas Rietveld to design what is now known as the Rietveld-Schroeder House, completed in 1924. For this house Rietveld employed the revolutionary concept of moveable walls to make the interior flexible, thereby redefining the limits of space. Growing up in this house fueled Han's interest in architecture, and was the beginning of her friendship to Rietveld and her devotion to his ideas. With the encouragement of her family, Han developed her artistic talent, and worked with Rietveld and G. van de Groenekan on carpentry and furniture making in her teenage years. In 1936 she entered the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, and graduated in 1940 with the degree of Diplom Architekt. She did not return to the Netherlands during World War II, but worked in Portugal (where she worked for the Red Cross and the Netherlands Embassy) and Great Britain. She returned to the Netherlands in 1946. From 1946 to 1949 she worked in the Municipal Museum of Modern Art in Amsterdam under W. Sandberg. Beginning in 1949 Schroeder worked first as a draftsman and then as a personal assistant to Rietveld. During these years she experimented with materials and concepts of interior design. She worked with Rietveld on Federal housing projects, schools, exhibitions, and the Sonsbeek Sculpture Pavillion, among other projects. She opened her own office in 1954. At that time she was one of two registered woman architects among 3000 registered men in the Netherlands. The most significant designs she did between 1954 and 1963 were the Gaastra House in Zeist; Ellinchem, a Center for Rejected and Problem Children in Ellecom; the Academy of Social Work, Amsterdam, where she designed a snack bar and auditorium; the Kessler House, a recreation building for employees of the Netherlands Steel Furnaces; and various Youth and Community Centers in Utrecht, Oldebrock, and Eerbeek. During this time she also designed stationery and exhibits. In 1963 she emigrated to the United States. She first worked at firms in Los Angeles, California, but accepted a position at Adelphi University in Garden City, New York, to teach interior design. In 1966 she taught at the Parsons School of Design in New York City, and then at the New York Institute of Technology from 1967 to 1979. In 1979 she became a Professor of Interior Design at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. She retired in 1988, and died in Amsterdam on March 20, 1992.

Language of Materials

Dutch; Flemish

Acquisition Information

The records were donated in January 1989 by Han Schroeder to the International Archive of Women in Architecture housed in the Special Collections Department of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Libraries. An addition to the collection was made in 1992, agfter Schroeder's death. Materials dated after 1992 were placed in the collection by Laura Katz Smith, Curator of Manuscripts.

Physical Characteristics

40 cu ft, 12 boxes; map cases


The materials in the collection consist of correpondence, clippings, publications, teaching materials, scrapbooks, photographs, family information and architectural materials. Architectural materials include drawings, photographs, specifications, and reports. The materials are arranged in chronological order except where otherwise noted. All project materials are grouped together. Boxes 5 and 12 contain the materials about the Rietveld-Schroeder House and biographical material about Rietveld and her mother, Tr. Schroeder-Schraeder. Boxes 5 and 6 contain examples and other materials associated with her typographical (or stationery design) work. Boxes 6 and 7 hold work-related and personal photographs.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Han Schroeder Architectural Papers was completed in October, 1998. The original accession was processed by Laura Katz Smith, April 1990. The second accession was processed in October, 1998 by Brad Shearer, student assistant, Special Collections Department.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US