Han Schröder

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The Schröder House in Utrecht where Han Schröder lived as a child and later helped to restore as supervising architect

Johanna Erna Else Schröder (16 July 1918, Utrecht – 20 March 1992, Amsterdam) was a Dutch architect and educator. After becoming one of the first women to practice architecture in the Netherlands, she spent an extended period in the United States teaching interior design.[1]

Early life[edit]

Schröder lived in the Schröder House in Utrecht, the Netherlands, together with her mother, Truus Schröder-Schräder, who was also an interior decorator. The house with moving walls was designed in 1924 by Gerrit Thomas Rietveld who became a friend of Schröder's and an important influence on her future work. While a teenager, she worked on furniture design with both Rietveld and with Gerard van de Groenekan. In 1936, she attended the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, graduating as an architect in 1940.[1][2]


Kromme Waal 23 and 24, Amsterdam where Han lived with her sister Marianne and Cora de Castro, a friend

She spent the years of the Second World War in Portugal working for the Red Cross and in the United Kingdom. In 1946, she returned to the Netherlands where she worked at Amsterdam's Modern Art Museum until 1949. Thereafter she worked with Rietveld on housing projects, schools, exhibitions, and the Sonsbeek Sculpture Pavilion. In 1954, Schröder opened her own office in the Netherlands as one of just two registered women architects among some 3,000 men. Key designs included the Gaastra House in Zeist, a centre for rejected children in Ellecom, an auditorium for the Social Work Academy, and Kessler House, a recreation building for employees working in the steel industry.[2]

After emigrating to the United States in 1963, she taught interior design at Adelphi University and the Parsons School of Design before being appointed professor at the New York Institute of Technology. From 1972 to 1987, Schröder was the architect responsible for the restoration of Schröder House in Utrecht which is now a museum. Two of her designs are in the collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art.[1] From 1981 she taught at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia until her retirement as professor emerita in 1988.[1][2]

Schröder died in March 1992 at the Boerhaave Clinic in Amsterdam.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Han Schroeder Dies; Interior Designer, 1973". New York Times, April 2, 1992. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Han Schroeder: Architectural Papers, 1926-1998", International Archive of Women in Architecture. Retrieved 28 February 2012.