The kitchen is a fascinating space, especially if one looks at its recent historical, sociopolitical development -- namely, the invention of time-saving appliances, the prioritization of efficiency, along with the gradual empowerment of women during the modern age. Today, with smaller living spaces becoming more necessary with rising housing costs, the kitchen is becoming smaller too -- with flexibility a key advantage to maximizing these shrinking spaces.
Designboom shows the work of Guatemalan architect Alejandra Calderon in rethinking this new, flexible kitchen. Dubbed Liberation of the Kitchen, Calderon project proposes a modular approach, where separate units on wheels contain the basic functions of cooking, washing, storage, food prep, compost, waste and recycling.
Done as part of Calderon's graduation thesis project for her master's in Interior Architecture and Research Design from the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam, the proposal is based on a case study done by Calerdon, where data was collected on the daily use patterns of students and professionals in their kitchens, as well as her own, using a Kinect and visual programming software VVVV. Calderon writes:
The Liberation of the Kitchen challenges the traditional layout of the house and questions how we inhabit domestic spaces, when patterns of life are changing so fast. By challenging the traditional arrangement of the fitted kitchen and proposing a new model, alternative forms of experiencing the domestic space can emerge: a cooking experience that is fluid, flexible and fragmented -- It is a new model of living for the modern dweller.
By making the elements of the kitchen space more fluid, more unused space is freed up, or at least given the possibility of converting into another function when needed.
The project features three mobile modules, with one containing the sink and recycling center, another containing the refrigerator, another with two induction stovetops and dish storage. This last unit can actually be further broken down into smaller, stackable modules that can be moved around the house.
The result of these freed-up elements mean that they can travel out of the kitchen. Feel like cooking right beside the dining table? All that needs to be done is to roll out the cooking unit. The project also offers free blueprints online so that anyone can build the set for their own home; it's all open source as well, meaning that users can upload their modified versions of the design or their spaces to help push its development further. For more, visit Alejandra Calderon and Liberation of the Kitchen.