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Designing Kitchens for Small Domestic Spaces


Abstract and Figures

The role of kitchen area in the house environment has been changing over the course of history. The changes concerned the share of kitchen space in apartment functional structure, as well as the course of everyday chores. Currently, as well as in the past, kitchen areas remain placed either in separate rooms, or they constitute a part of a bigger space (usually the living room). At present, two characteristic domestic kitchen models are preferred: “laboratory” and multifunctional (with a dining room). The space limitations, especially in multi-family housing, favored the “laboratory” kitchen model, or so-called partial kitchens in living rooms. Technical progress enabled creating various types of small kitchen areas, which are adjusted to diverse needs of users, according to their lifestyle. Kitchen areas are crucial places for completing various household chores. Among everyday duties performed in the kitchen there are: preparing meals, doing the washing up and cleaning up. Those chores frequently are technologically complicated activities. In order to perform them more efficiently, household members use various devices and home appliances. Conducting of chores, storing the appliances and food products etc., requires a vast share of the apartment structure. Providing sufficiently big maneuver and storage spaces is particularly difficult in small kitchens. Shortages in available space may have a negative influence on, among others, the correct layout of working space or ease of movement in small kitchens. The following paper concentrates on the evolution and examples of types of small kitchens, as well as selected rules concerning the improvement of conditions of their arrangements.
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adfa, p. 1, 2011.
© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011
Designing kitchens for small domestic spaces
Przemyslaw Nowakowski
Wroclaw University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture
Prusa st. 53/55, 50-317 Wroclaw, Poland
Abstract. The role of kitchen area in the house environment has been changing
over the course of history. The changes concerned the share of kitchen space in
apartment functional structure, as well as the course of everyday chores. Cur-
rently, as well as in the past, kitchen areas remain placed either in separate
rooms, or they constitute a part of a bigger space (usually the living room). At
present, two characteristic domestic kitchen models are preferred: “laboratory”
and multifunctional (with a dining room). The space limitations, especially in
multi-family housing, favored the “laboratory” kitchen model, or so-called par-
tial kitchens in living rooms. Technical progress enabled creating various types
of small kitchen areas, which are adjusted to diverse needs of users, according
to their lifestyle.
Kitchen areas are crucial places for completing various household chores.
Among everyday duties performed in the kitchen there are: preparing meals,
doing the washing up and cleaning up. Those chores frequently are technologi-
cally complicated activities. In order to perform them more efficiently, house-
hold members use various devices and home appliances. Conducting of chores,
storing the appliances and food products etc., requires a vast share of the apart-
ment structure. Providing sufficiently big maneuver and storage spaces is par-
ticularly difficult in small kitchens. Shortages in available space may have a
negative influence on, among others, the correct layout of working space or
ease of movement in small kitchens.
The following paper concentrates on the evolution and examples of types of
small kitchens, as well as selected rules concerning the improvement of condi-
tions of their arrangements.
1 Introduction
Throughout the centuries, preparing of meals has constituted one of the main house-
related activities. However, the role of household chores, preparing of meals, and
kitchens themselves have significantly changed with time. Initially “the kitchen
space” was limited only to the space near the fire. With time it took up the space of a
dedicated room, where other, even profit-making, household chores were performed.
Another factor which constitutes kitchen’s quality and looks is the way of heat treat-
ing of dishes. Furnaces with open of closed fire, and gas and electric “cold stoves”
determined forms of kitchen space. Formerly, the process of storing and processing of
food produce rarely took place in one room. Storing of food supplies and firewood,
water access and waste disposal required using of other rooms of the house, even
areas outside the housing building.
With time people aimed at clear distinction between areas concerning household
chores and leisure. However, it was not until 20th century when a fully
monofunctional kitchen model was devised, which combined all the functions con-
nected with preparation of meals. The complexity of kitchen-related chores also led to
a spatial distinction of zones used for performance of particular activities using
properly chosen and placed equipment.
Preparation and consumption of meals at home formerly took place in “the kitchen
area” in the broad sense of the term, or, in wealthy households, also in the adjoining
room dining room. Such a term is justified, as assigning a monofunctional “kitchen”
with a full usage program is a solution which has been commonly used only for a
couple dozens of years. In such a space, despite typical activities connected with
preparation of meals, various household chores (mainly cleaning activities) are also
performed. Contemporary kitchens usually are not only the center of household
chores, but also the place of family bonding, studying and spending free time with
family and friends. However, it is difficult to carry out those activities in small,
monofunctional kitchens.
2 Separation of the kitchen area in former houses
The central place which formerly designated the living and, in particular, kitchen area
was the hearth with an open fire. Fire was necessary to maintain comfortable condi-
tions in households (rooms heating function), as well as to process food produce (heat
treating) into easily assimilated and warming meals. Together with gasification and
electrification the form of the heating medium has changed. Traditional flame was
replaced by invisible thermal radiation transferred directly into the dishes. Using of
stoves with closed hearth and central heating enabled separation of rooms used exclu-
sively to prepare meals monofunctional kitchens. Division of flats into separate
spaces chambers and rooms (also with an assigned kitchen) was an effect of succes-
sive improvement of life standards and living conditions.
3 Beginnings of the “laboratory” kitchen model
Various economic and social changes took place after the World War I. Among
common phenomena of that time one can distinguish: a proceeding decline of big
families, emancipation and employment of women, ceasing of using services of do-
mestic workers, etc.. Those tendencies influenced social relations, as well as forms of
residence. The contemporary need for housing initiated new trends in design. The
demands concerning the improvement of housing conditions were formulated mainly
by lower social classes, for whom cheap housing with a higher standard than previ-
ously was planned to be built. In Europe the idea of tenement housing was abandoned
for the sake of social housing.
Withdrawing from the model of household with servants required a different percep-
tion of the functional and spatial program of apartments. Maintaining spacious houses
with separate utility rooms (kitchens, pantries, laundry rooms), as well as rooms for
servants was no longer possible. The household chores were started to be performed
single-handedly and an interest in smaller houses and apartments without chore rooms
increased. Simultaneously, mechanization and automatization of chores adapted to the
housing environment gained importance. Those developments were introduced thanks
to the advancements of industrial productions. However, the aforementioned process-
es were undertaken mainly in industrialized regions and countries.
Functional construction layouts of buildings created in 1920s were transformed in-
to considerably small apartments, however with both kitchens and bathrooms in
standard. Moreover, the aesthetic experiences connected with decorative details were
replaced by the superiority of practical needs. That is why the expression “housing
machines” gained popularity, as it described the living space as a place of fulfilling
only specific utilitarian needs. This expression also resulted from introduction of uni-
fication and prefabricated elements in the housing industry.
Designing of modern housing (“housing machines”) was based on, among others,
the analysis of everyday needs of residents and graphic diagrams determining the
traffic patterns between the zones in a test kitchen during performing of the most
important chores. Separation of kitchen from other parts of the house was justified by
hygienic and health considerations [1]. The reduction of traffic patterns led to certain
limitations, especially in the kitchen, where a complex course of activities requires
multiple changing of places. Those theoretical considerations were merely a formal
justification of needed savings, resulting from the unfavorable economic situation,
together with a big shortage of housing and poor sanitary conditions in cities.
It is at that time when the new program of building new housing estates in Frank-
furt called “Das neue Frankfurt” (The New Frankfurt) was commenced. In the project
the model of “laboratory”, also known as “Frankfurt”, kitchen was proposed. The
author of this project was an architect from Vienna, Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky,
who, in 1926, designed a kitchen on the area of 6.5 m². Her idea was inspired, among
others, by the works of Ch. Frederick, an American home economist and household
reformer [2].
The size and proportions of the “Frankfurt” kitchen, as well as the galley shape
layout, enabled to considerably reduce the distance between the appliances. The
measurements of the kitchen amounted to 187 x 344 cm [3]. It had a functional con-
nection with the hall and it was directly adjoined to the living room. Prefabricated
elements and standard kitchen furniture was fitted to it. The furniture was manufac-
tured and then assembled inside the room. Due to a careful workmanship, the counter-
top was smooth and with invisible technological connections. This created a possibil-
ity of uninterrupted performing of chores in any place of the countertop and an ease of
maintaining it clean. Another new features in the “Frankfurt kitchen” was lack of
movable furniture (including the traditional kitchen cabinets) and a dining table. The
furniture was fixed permanently to walls. An addition to the furniture, there was a gas
stove and a sink with running water. The maneuver space was limited to the mini-
mum. Using of a particular kitchen required just a turn, or taking a few steps to the
side. The technology of work was an overriding criterion deciding on the way of par-
ticular arrangement of furniture, however the functional and aesthetical variants were
not planned.
It was assumed that the kitchen chores would be performed by one person. There-
fore the kitchen was an effect of implementation of rules of technical improvement
and functionality of the equipment. Specialization of housewives concerning the
kitchen chores aimed at reflecting the organization of work in the gastronomic indus-
try, as it was a popular belief that those activities are a waste of time and an excessive
overload, which need to be performed as quickly as possible [3]. In a prototype
“Frankfurt kitchen” both the traversed distance, and the time spent on performing the
activities was measured. It was estimated that the distance traversed while performing
the chores in kitchens of the old type amounted to 19 meters, while in the kitchen
designed according to the Frankfurt model it was only 6 meters [4]. It was also no-
ticed that some distances require to be traversed several times, for instance, from the
cabinet with kitchenware to the stove, or from the sink to the cabinet with dinnerware.
That is why the aforementioned functional segments became adjacent, in order to
minimalize the walking distance and the number of unnecessary manual activities.
Fig. 1. “Frankfurt kitchen” with furniture fixed to walls and a countertop
under the window.
The comparison of the distance covered while working in a traditional and new kitch-
en was only seemingly a decisive factor in the introduction of the features of small
“Frankfurt kitchen”, since the role of the dining area adjacent to the working zone was
not included. Appreciating the close placement of dining table, stove and sink in old,
traditional rural and bourgeois kitchens, M. SchütteLihotzky postulated placement of
the table in the living room, in the distance not longer than 3 meters from the kitchen
working area [2]. The arrangement of furniture and appliances in “Frankfurt kitchen”,
in accordance with technological manner of preparing meals can be considered as
influential in relation to older, often randomly designed multifunctional kitchens with
traditional tables used for consumption of meals.
The placement of wall cabinets and standing cabinets, as well as characteristic
aluminum storage scoops was also carefully thought through. The technological re-
quirements of the work space and reach dimensions of users in various working posi-
tions were also considered. The project envisioned performing of activities along the
walls in a standing position and next to the window, in a sitting position (Fig. 1).
A narrow room with a simple traffic pattern and parallel functional working zones
enabled only one person to work. Therefore the working areas were placed in accord-
ance with the technological course and order of performing chores. Such an arrange-
ment enabled to shorten the distance covered during performing the activities. How-
ever, strictly systematized arrangement of chores resulted in boredom. The routine
and alienation in the kitchen were deepened by a lack of a multifunctional table,
where all the members of family could gather.
The “laboratory” character of the “Frankfurt kitchen” and latter mini-kitchens lead
to ceasing of the traditional role of this room integration of household members.
Kitchens became only places of “service” in relation to other parts of the house (the
living room in particular). Despite achieved improvements, and both investment-
related (financial) and functional limitations in apartments built at that time, the ma-
jority of society preferred bigger multifunctional kitchens. Users demanded for kitch-
ens and rooms to be big enough, so that they could individually furnish them and,
above all, assign an area for meals consumption [5]. Nevertheless, the “Frankfurt
kitchen”, and, in a broader understanding, the “laboratory kitchen” with an ordered
layout, became a model kitchen design for the following decades, especially in multi-
family housing.
4 Popularization of small kitchens in housing development
Resignation from the services of domestic workers enforced having just one person
managing the household. Those changes were particularly dynamic in the USA.
Therefore, typical kitchens from 1920s and 1930s were small, and had a “laboratory”
character. Frequently they had built-in closets with many doors and drawers, coal and
gas stoves, or coal and electric stoves. Among other appliances which became gradu-
ally more popular there were: refrigerators, sinks with a dish drainer shelf, waste
burning heaters, and smaller household appliances [6], [7]. The models of “laborato-
ry” kitchens equipped with the newest appliances were mainly popularized. While
multifunctional and open kitchens were built in bigger detached houses.
The technical and furniture equipment had a better ergonomic quality and charac-
teristic visual features, such as streamlined shapes. It is then, when the term “Stream-
line Kitchen” gained popularity. Using of streamlined shapes in household appliances
was inspired by the contemporary aviation and motorization. Such forms were con-
sidered as a visual synonym of speed, efficiency, as well as mechanization of house-
hold [8]. The term streamline did not refer only to the shapes, but also to ensuring of
the continuity and fluency of performed activities [9]. Although kitchens were assem-
bled from the prefabricated elements, various layouts were available, as wall to wall
fitted furniture enabled creating an in-line and galley shape layouts in “L” and “U”
shapes, etc. [10].
5 Domestic kitchens after the World War II
The economic and social changes after the World War II contributed to equalization
of the status of households. This, in turn, led to a considerable unification of forms
and qualities of housing. As a result, average standard of newly built housing was
improved. A higher technological standard, mainly of kitchens and bathrooms, be-
came more accessible, despite the wealth of their users.
The economic considerations and significance of class-less societies decided on an
averaged standard space of apartments. The savings and cutbacks usually affected the
space of kitchens and bathrooms. That is why they were usually the smallest of all
rooms. Providing the installations (mainly waterworks and sewage system) resulted
in a higher technical standard of housing. Apartments built in 1950s and 1960s were
not very spacious. That is why, the functional program was limited to the basic needs.
Placement of functional zones was strictly prearranged, and the space and proportions
of rooms excluded a possibility of any flexibility in the interior design. The measure-
ments of kitchens at that time amounted to 4-6 m². They were joined together with
bathrooms creating a “wet functional block”. A serious disadvantage of this solution
was, among others, a small surface, resulting in both functional and social conse-
quences. The size of traffic and maneuver space, as well as work space enabled only
one person (usually a woman) to work in the kitchen. The participation of other
household members, and resulting from it integration of the family, was strongly hin-
dered [11]. Also the consumption of meals could only take place in the living room.
Because of financial reasons, the concepts of multifunctional kitchens were reject-
ed in favor of the “laboratory model”, which was sometimes joined with the living
room (which usually served also as a bedroom). Another consequence of this solution
was a spatial separation of kitchen and dining zone, and moving the dining area to the
living room [12]. The reverse of this trend took place only in 1970s, when the model
of multifunctional kitchen gained popularity at the expense of the “laboratory model”
[13]. This change did not result from returning to the old family structure and the role
of the “housewife” who did not have gainful employment. The reason for it was per-
ceived in the possibility of activation of other members of family, by delegating to
them certain chores, such as laying the table. In the sample arrangements one of the
crucial features was a comfortable work flow, by, among others, installing counter-
tops in between the main work hubs. The rule of the “work triangle” (refrigerator
sink stove) was gaining popularity at that time, which coincided with popularization
of various technological and kitchen appliances, in particular: washing machines,
refrigerators, dishwashers, etc..
The size of an average kitchen in post-war multi-family housing was similar to the
“Frankfurt kitchen”. The “laboratory model” of kitchen, which was strongly popular-
ized and realized until the end of 1960s, still did not gain a considerable recognition.
The need of having a dining area was important, even at the expense of correct ar-
rangement of the working area and comfort of work. The division into separate rooms
resulted in doubling of the dining area, which was placed both in the kitchen and in
the living room (Fig. 2).
1970s was the time of an increase in welfare of societies. Focusing the manufacturing
on production of consumption goods favored the improvement of technical standards
and sizes of apartments. It applied mainly to the kitchen areas, where most of the
household chores were performed. Popularization of mechanical devices led to a
change in approach to household and kitchen chores. A common use of food proces-
sors, dishwashers, microwaves, washing machines, electric irons, etc. resulted in re-
duction of the most laborious and unpleasant activities. A return to a traditional role
of the kitchen, and considering joint preparing and consuming of meals as a means to
integrate the members of the family, commenced a withdrawal from the “laboratory”
model, in which the kitchen was an area isolated from the rest of the household. Big
multifunctional kitchens, became open, and connected with the living room, which
was an expression of practical quality of the apartment [11]. This trend was more
visible in wealthier, capitalist countries. At this time, in the socialist countries, there
were still struggles concerning the insufficiency of housing and various socio-
economical limitations. The preferred model of housing was still large-panel build-
ings with rigid functional layouts. Small apartments, out of necessity, still contained
kitchens designed according to the “laboratory” model. Short layouts usually con-
tained not enough work space and storage room.
Fig. 2. Sample layouts of small kitchens (often with faulty arrangements of the working area
The layout of work zones with cabinets along the walls creates a necessity of working
facing the wall, with the back to the room. Separation of kitchen from the rest of
apartment with walls additionally strengthens the isolation of a person preforming the
kitchen chores from other activities and members of the household. This issue was
first discussed at the beginning of 1980s by a German designer Otl Aicher, who in his
book “A kitchen for cooking” (Die Küche zum Kochen) postulated that kitchen chores
be should also considered as “social and communicative activities” [14]. His books
commenced a process of changes in functional and social approach towards kitchen
chores. The author criticized the previous model of performing chores at the module
work space, which relied on routine preparation of meals (mainly from ready-made
frozen products and canned food) and the fact that the person who was cooking was
facing the wall [14].
A new functionality was the location of main countertop in the middle of the room,
in a form of an island with an openwork shelf for the most necessary accessories.
Therefore the person who was working was “in the center of events” and could main-
tain visual contact with other members of the household [14]. Otl Aicher perceived
preparing of meals as an important part of home life, also in the social context, partic-
ularly concerning the development of interpersonal ties. This new idea also aimed at
including guests in the process of meal preparation.
The island layouts may be used on relatively big spaces. They can be also recom-
mended in small kitchens opened into a living room. Such a layout may lead to con-
siderable savings of space (Fig.3).
Fig. 3. Outline of a multifunctional island kitchen according to O. Aicher and a small laborato-
ry kitchen with an island opening into a living room.
“Laboratory kitchens” are mainly dedicated to young and single people and those who
spend the majority of day outside home (at work), who also often use food services.
The traditional kitchen model with a dining area is recommended to families with
children, as well as people having a particular lifestyle (for instance those who enter-
tain their guests with a joint preparation of meals). As a result, kitchens again started
to serve various functions of daily activities of household members.
The diversity of offered furniture systems and household appliances influenced the
popularity of the open kitchen model, as the kitchen area is often a part of living
room. This solution led to creation of impression of a spacious room, together with
reducing the traffic zones. Those concepts are particularly popular in smaller flats.
Stylistic merging of the zones became possible, nevertheless opening of kitchens
required a disconnection of gas system installation in the apartments.
6 Measures of small kitchen design
The functional and spatial program of kitchen includes all the functions connected
with feeding of householders and their guests, furniture equipment, as well as appli-
ances used for preparation and consumption of meals. The equipment aims at ena-
bling an effective and well-balanced work, together with reduction of needed time
and effort, in accordance with users’ needs. The functional and spatial program of
kitchen depends on the following factors:
location of kitchen in the house structure;
proportions of the room and the kitchen area;
possible layout and length of the work zone;
number of household members;
lifestyle, diet and personal preferences.
Other factors which influence the kitchen layout are features connected with traits of
the members of household (relatedness, age, relations between members of different
generations, education, social and work status, lifestyle, preferences, diets etc.). That
is why, especially in the monofunctional kitchens (covering small spaces), it is neces-
sary to fulfill accompanying functions in other parts of the apartment, such as: spend-
ing time together, taking care of children, learning and playing and performing
household chores not related with preparation of meals (e.g. cleaning, ironing).
Efficient preparation of meals, cleaning works, making stocks, etc. requires appro-
priate arrangement of space. It is especially vital in small kitchens, whose space is
mainly taken by the furniture and mechanical devices. There are various organiza-
tional and architectural factors which can contribute to making the kitchen chores
more efficient. Among the organizational factors one can distinguish:
doing shopping more often (possibility of reduction of space needed for making
purchasing of partially processed products (ground coffee, juice, frozen foods, etc.)
and reducing the number of additional kitchen appliances;
purchasing of ready-made products (sauces, stewed fruit, jams, etc.) and meals
(pizza, soups, risotto, and ready-to-cook foods, etc.) sold in bulk, in jars, cans or
using of multifunctional kitchen appliances (e.g. food processors, pressure cookers,
microwave ovens).
The architectural factors are as follows:
appropriate layout of the working area;
right choice and arrangement of particular elements of furnishings (furniture,
equipment and kitchen appliances);
minimalization of the length and avoiding of crossing of traffic patterns;
ensuring of optimum microclimate conditions (temperature and humidity of air,
natural and artificial lighting, proper ventilation, etc.);
elimination of possibilities of accidents (tripping, spilling, falling, burns, cuts, etc.).
A well-balanced placement of the most often used equipment enables to limit the
necessity of working in uncomfortable positions, such as: kneeling or squatting.
While a proper placement of furniture and appliances may lead to a reduction of time
of work and covered distance.
Modern kitchen furniture systems enable to match the equipment precisely to the
size of the kitchen area, as well as to the size and movement abilities of its user. It is
accomplished by the choice of cabinets and work surfaces with specific height, depth
and width. It is also possible to arrange the equipment according to individual needs
of users (placing of refrigerator, stove etc. in any part of the working zone and on
individually chosen height) despite the location of installation connections.
The situation of the doorway in the kitchen has a big influence on a well-balanced
arrangement of this room. Its edge should be placed minimally 60-65 cm from the
corner of the room. In case of a smaller distance, the placement of the countertop or
kitchen cabinets with a depth of 60 cm is impossible, and a narrow unused space cov-
ered up with a door and with limited traffic pattern possibilities is created. Increasing
the space to 70 cm enables placement of tall cabinets, as well as installation of a light
switch (Fig. 4).
The minimal assumed width of the kitchen doorway, amounting to 80 cm (in case of
people with disabilities who use wheelchairs 90 cm) can be considered as sufficient
in order to provide a free traffic pattern, even while carrying big trays and bags. How-
ever, for preventive reasons (the possibility of health deterioration of the household
members), and in order to increase the comfort and meaning of the kitchen in the
housing structure, it is recommended to use unified, extended width of the doorway,
amounting to 90 cm. Nevertheless, the number of doors in the kitchen area should be
limited to the minimum. The door to the hallway (the entry and traffic zone of apart-
ment) and a potential door to the living room (the dining area) may be considered as
sufficient. Meeting the demand concerning the extension of doorway might therefore
result in the necessity of increasing the traffic area in the apartment, especially in the
Fig. 4. Narrow and recommended space between the door and the corner of the room.
The window should provide a sufficient amount of day light for both working zone,
and the whole room. Windows may have one or multiple panes, however, big glass
surfaces are more difficult to open and clean, and, after opening, they take up a lot of
space. The most convenient are double casement windows, with a possibility of full or
ajar opening. However, an ajar window does not allow to quickly and effectively air
the room. A wide opened window should not block often used cabinets or force to
move tableware from the countertops.
The height of window sill should create a possibility of installing cabinets and
countertop underneath it, and it should be 85-110 cm (e.g. “L” or “U” shaped). In this
case it is recommended to connect the sill and countertop into one element on the
same level. The window sills built in multi-family housing, with the height of 85 cm
practically hinder the possibility of installing higher worktops adjusted to the standing
work of taller people. If the sink is placed under the window, it is advised for the
opening window to be installed approximately 30 cm higher, because of, i.a., sink
standing taps. Therefore, the opening of windows should not be constricted by furni-
ture or placed on it equipment, appliances and tableware.
Both standing and wall cabinets are usually installed up to the corner of the external
wall. They should not block the window opening (Fig. 5). Therefore the window
should be in a distance of at least 40-45 cm from the corner of the room (assuming
that, at the same time, the window sill is above, or on the same level as the counter-
top). In many apartments window openings take up the whole wall of the room. Then,
wall cabinets are moved away from the window, creating an unused corner; the space
gained in that way still prevents from a full opening of the window. Resulting in diffi-
culties in cleaning of the window from the outside.
Fig. 5. The influence of the size of the window proportion on the possibility of moving
the work zone to the external wall.
As a result of putting the countertop in front of the window (which is the case in all
kitchen layouts except one wall kitchen and galley layout), it is difficult to reach the
window handle. That is why it is advised to install it lower, so that it is easier to grip
from behind the countertop under the sill.
7 Summary
Kitchen plays a special role in every household. It is a place for preparing meals, but
also of creating culinary art and feasting. That is why designing a kitchen is not only a
technical process considering potential changes and technological improvements. The
design should encompass the philosophy of life of its users, as well as a possibility of
changes of their lifestyle and social relations.
Throughout the centuries, the role of kitchen in social and spatial structure of house
has been reflecting the attitude towards work. Although kitchen has been the center of
home activity for a long time, it did not use to have a representative role. It was often
spatially and functionally isolated from the rest of the house. Thanks to the scientific
rationalization of housework and considerable savings of space in the first half of 20th
century, kitchens were considered as “service” areas in comparison with the leisure
areas of the house. What is more, the social recognition of housework declined to-
gether with the emancipation of women and their work activation.
Introduction of a small kitchen in a “laboratory” model, requires a detailed plan-
ning of the kitchen activities. The equipment should be well chosen and installed in
appropriate places. However, in most cases the work zones are placed intuitively,
without the analysis of courses of activities. This leads to functional errors, and, in a
result, to extension of the way traversed during everyday chores.
Small kitchens usually enable only one person to work inside. Because of their
separation from the rest of apartment, the kitchen chores are isolated from other
household activities. Moreover, kitchen is viewed only as a monofunctional second-
ary room, which cannot be used to integrate the household members. Therefore, other
common needs of house-dwellers are to be met in different rooms.
The current view of preparation of meals as a pastime, opportunity to relax and
means to entertain guests changed the rank of kitchen in the house structure. Nowa-
days, in many houses kitchens became prestigious areas, alongside with the living
rooms. As a result, they are even considered to be “kitchen rooms”. Prospective
achievement of such a value by small kitchens requires both functional and spatial
connection of them with adjacent rooms (living rooms).
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Full-text available
This paper aims to contribute to the development of spatial criteria for adaptive capacity, which is identified as one important factor for the transition towards more circular housing design. The paper focuses on the kitchen, as an important function of the home which is connected to large resource flows and is exposed to frequent renovations and replacements. This paper identifies spatial characteristics of the kitchen and evaluates their potential to accommodate circular solutions focusing on adaptive capacity. As a first step, previous literature on the spatial characteristics of kitchens and indicators that support adaptability is reviewed. These are then used to develop an analytical framework to assess the adaptive capacity and circularity potential of 3624 kitchens in contemporary Swedish apartments. A qualitative approach in combination with quantitative methods is employed to analyse the selected sample. The main contributions of this paper include its spatial analytical framework, its descriptive presentation of contemporary kitchen and apartment designs, and its adaptive capacity assessment of the studied kitchens. The results point out that although the over-capacity of the floor area of kitchens and apartments can have significance for adaptability, it is not the only determinative spatial characteristics. The windows' location and distribution, the number of door openings and traffic zones, the shafts’ location and accessibility from multiple rooms, the room typology and the kitchen typology can improve the adaptive capacity and circularity potential of kitchens and dwellings. The findings show that in contemporary floorplans advantageous design solutions connected to the identified spatial characteristics are not applied in a systematic way. Further research is necessary to define the exact measures of the individual spatial characteristics and their combined application in multiresidential floorplan design.
This dissertation proposes a modular furniture design for micro-apartment kitchens which, composed by a small number of modules, provides a variety of solutions that meet both the demands imposed by spatial constraints inherent to this kind of furniture and also the needs of individual users. To reach this objective, the theoretical foundation is based on aspects regarding the micro-apartments, such as the assumptions for their appearance and the characterization of their dwellers; the kitchen, including its historical evolution as well as its standards, norms and furniture ergonomic recommendations; and the micro-apartment kitchen, whose spatial features and usage needs are investigated. Supported by this information, the development of the proposal starts with the establishment of new height standards for the kitchen countertop, once it has been found that the current market standards do not provide proper levels of ergonomic satisfaction to a large number of users, then, the proposal focuses on the dimensioning of the modules and, finally, it brings the simulation of application and usage of this system design. It is concluded that the system herein proposed reaches its objectives, however, further usability tests are needed. Keywords: design; kitchen; microapartament; modular furniture; ergonomics. / Esta dissertação tem como objetivo propor um sistema de mobiliário modular para cozinhas de microapartamentos que, composto por um pequeno número de módulos, ofereça variadas soluções que visam atender tanto às demandas causadas pelas restrições espaciais inerentes a esses imóveis como às necessidades de uso individuais dos utilizadores. Para isso, busca-se fundamentação teórica em aspetos relacionados aos microapartamentos, como as premissas para seu surgimento e a caracterização de seus moradores; à cozinha, observando-se sua evolução histórica bem como os padrões, normas e recomendações ergonómicas para seu mobiliário; e à cozinha do microapartamento, investigando-se suas características espaciais e necessidades de uso. Com base nessas informações, o desenvolvimento da proposta inicia-se na definição de novos padrões de altura de bancada de trabalho, uma vez constatado que os atuais padrões do mercado não oferecem adequados níveis de satisfação ergonómica a uma grande parcela dos utilizadores, passando-se para o dimensionamento dos módulos e finalizando-se com a simulação de aplicação e utilização desse sistema. Conclui-se que o sistema aqui proposto atinge os objetivos, entretanto, necessitando de testes de usabilidade mais apurados. Palavras-chave: design; cozinha; microapartamento; mobiliário modular; ergonomia.
Das Buch erschließt den Lesern die Küche als zentralen Wohnraum des häuslichen Lebens. Die Autorinnen und Autoren untersuchen die Küche – nachdem sie seit den 90er Jahren als modisch-repräsentatives Designobjekt ins Zentrum rückte – in Bezug auf ihre architektonischen, kulturellen, sozialen sowie ökonomischen Bedeutungen. Vorgestellt werden wichtige Entwicklungstendenzen und wegweisende Küchenkonzepte der letzten Jahrzehnte (Frankfurter Küche, Normküchen, Wohnküchen), planerische Grundlagen, aktuellste Trends, die sich wandelnden Bedürfnisse heutiger Benutzer an den Küchenraum (Patchworkfamilien, Singlehaushalte) sowie kulinarische Aspekte. Kurz: Ein Buch, das in keiner Küche des 21. Jahrhunderts fehlen sollte! Unsere neue Buchreihe Edition Wohnen stellt ausgewählte Themen aus dem weiten Feld des Wohnens kurz und übersichtlich vor. Sie richtet sich sowohl an allgemein kulturinteressierte Leserinnen und Leser als auch an Fachleute. Die Reihe wird herausgegeben vom ETH Wohnforum Zürich.
In Arnold Friedmann’s 1992 book review, for the Interior Design magazine, he wrote that The Interior Dimension is “a scholarly work that goes beyond a classroom text. It is written clearly and concisely and is quite likely to become a ‘classic.’” From the Inside Flap "A plan proceeds from within to without… The exterior is the result of the interior." ―Le Corbusier This comment clearly indicates the primacy of the interior as a generator of form―but design theory has historically emphasized buildings' exterior, not its interior. And this approach, essentially sculptural, has often had less than a beneficial effect on the building's occupants. That situation is, however, changing, and the interior is increasingly being viewed as the designer's primary concern. The Interior Dimension provides a much-needed theoretical overview of interior space―its history and character―in an organized and comprehensive manner. Exploring the history of spatial design from the first century B.C. to the present, this innovative book reviews the part of architectural theory that relates to the interior, as well as such related disciplines as fine art, psychology, philosophy, literature, and the environmental sciences. The approach is eclectic, and seeks to identify those design concerns necessary to proceed "...from within to without." The book's three-part organization clearly distinguishes fundamental design elements, their derivation, and applications within a cultural context. Each section addresses increasingly complex issues in design, thus providing a base of understanding for the succeeding chapter. First, The Interior Dimension examines the importance of theory, as well as attributes of fundamental design elements and their perception. The authors stress the abstract nature and generative potential of even the simplest gesture, examining human spatial requirements both in terms of metaphysical aspects of visual elements and critical studies in perception. Second, it probes some of the positions that noted designers have historically held about design in general, and the design of interior space in particular. Individuals have been selected for their importance to spatial design, and arranged in chronological order so that their ideas may be seen in development. Alternative and opposing viewpoints contribute to a lively dialogue of concepts and opinions. Finally, The Interior Dimension addresses a range of technical, aesthetic, psychological, and ethical concerns that primarily―though not exclusively―affect the interior. This section deals with broad issues in aesthetics and psychology, architectural semiotics, spatial communication systems, and primordial archetypes. The intent of this section is not to solve particular design problems, but to address the fundamental issues that concern design generally, and which remain of concern long after any specific application. Richly illustrated with photographs and drawings from both architectural and related sources, The Interior Dimension is intended to serve as a provocative and useful design theory text for students of architecture and interior design, both in formal class situations and as a reference work. But it should also serve as a valuable study aid for design professionals preparing to take the theory and history sections of the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam. Finally, the issues raised by this work are so fundamental and broad, that it should appeal to anyone interested in the form and function of human dwelling.
Oikos Von der Feuerstelle zur Mikrowelle Haushalt und Wohnen im Wandel
  • M Andritzky
Geschichte des Wohnens
  • G Kähler
Architektur für den Alltag. Von sozialen und frauenorientierten Anspruch der Siedlungsarchitektur der zwanziger Jahre
  • I Beer
Beer I.: Architektur für den Alltag. Von sozialen und frauenorientierten Anspruch der Siedlungsarchitektur der zwanziger Jahre. Schelzky & Jeep, Berlin, 125 (1994)
The Bathroom, the Kitchen and the Aesthetics of Waste
  • E Lupton
Lupton E.: The Bathroom, the Kitchen and the Aesthetics of Waste. Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 65 (1996)