“The new dwelling sets for its occupants the task of rethinking everything afresh, organising a new lifestyle, and of winning freedom from the irrelevant clutter of outmoded habits of thought and old-fashioned equipment.”
Franz Schuster, 1927
At the beginning of the 20th century a room in the home was radically re-invented. The first standardised fitted kitchen – the Frankfurt kitchen – was realised in thousands of new flats allowing for modern comfort in low-cost dwellings. This new design was a reaction to the two main issues of previous kitchens: their uncomfortable and inefficient layouts; and that (partly as a consequence) they were the expensive privilege of the wealthy.
It is fascinating however how little the kitchen has really changed since. While the Frankfurt kitchen was designed for the average household of its time: a five-member family, with a mother doing all their cooking, the size of the household has been shrinking ever since, with one-person households being the second largest group today. Having outgrown the existing stock of small apartments, more and more are forced to opt for adult flatshares.
The “kitchen issues” of both single living and flatshares are all too familiar:
– When alone, cooking is depressing, inconvenient and wasteful
– While in a flatshare, it’s messy, limited and mostly disharmonic
We think that this isn’t just very similar to the moment when the Frankfurt kitchen itself was designed but actually also calls for a new model/typology.
The kitchen is the most connected room in the home, at the intersection of the household, the food supply chain, the mains services and the waste disposal system. As such, it is a crucial point of architectural analysis and intervention to any realistic prospect of a bright collective urban future – capable of accommodating more, while reducing ecological footprint.