When it comes to
What was the Frankfurt Kitchen?
Created in 1926 by Austrian architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, the Frankfurt Kitchen is the name given to a standardized kitchen design made especially for public housing apartments in Frankfurt,
The History of The Frankfurt Kitchen
In the aftermath of the
There was also a vaguely
“The problem of rationalizing the housewife’s work is equally important to all classes of the society. Both the middle-class women, who often work without any help [i.e. without servants] in their homes, and also the women of the worker class, who often have to work in other jobs, are overworked to the point that their stress is bound to have serious consequences for public health at large.” – Schütte-Lihotzky.
Features of the Frankfurt Kitchen
Although the Frankfurt Kitchen differed in dimensions depending on apartment size, the basic tenets of the design remained the same. Each kitchen was a narrow, double file space with a window at one end for light and air. The design came complete with a swivel stool, a gas stove, built-in labelled storage, a fold-down ironing board, an adjustable track ceiling light, and removable garbage drawer.
In designing the Frankfurt Kitchen, Schütte-Lihotzky paid careful attention to the materials used. Each material was rationally chosen for a specific function. Doors and drawer fronts, for example, were painted
In addition to its rational design, the Frankfurt Kitchen broke the traditional kitchen mold in other ways too. For instance, because of its specific requirements, the Frankfurt Kitchen came installed with both furniture and appliances, in effect making it the first ‘fitted kitchen’ prototype. What’s more, instead of having the kitchen as a
Was the Frankfurt Kitchen a Success?
While Schütte-Lihotzky’s Frankfurt Kitchen was a commercial success, the reality was that few owners actually liked using their new kitchens. Many users were baffled by the layout, and found the inflexibility of the design to be especially frustrating.
Furthermore, despite its drive to emancipate the housewife, it seems the Frankfurt Kitchen may have done the exact opposite. Critics argue that the separate nature of the Frankfurt Kitchen actually isolated housewives from the rest of the household. What’s more, its compact nature ultimately precluded the possibility of having other family members help with the household chores.
The Legacy of the Frankfurt Kitchen
For all its faults, there’s no denying that the Frankfurt Kitchen was revolutionary in its approach to domestic architecture. For the first time, science and design came together to tackle the daunting issue of social housing. Moreover, the fact that it was designed by Schütte-Lihotzky, a female architect, is no small matter given the gender restrictions of the era. Overall, the Frankfurt Kitchen went on to become a model for the modern urban kitchen, ultimately influencing the design of many of the
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