KITCHEN and its shifting position

Post 381 – by Gautam Shah 



Kitchen as a space module, over the years, has been shifting around the dwelling. The shifts have occurred due to technological changes inside and outside the kitchen. These compulsive changes, have altered the nature of all other units of dwelling, except the bedroom. The interrelationships between the units of dwellings have been reset many times. Some new ones have become evident, whereas others have separated, merged with others, or just perished.

x Old Stone House kitchen

The kitchen is an intensive activity area, and so in comparison to the entire house, its dependence on outside resources is more acute. The perimeter of the kitchen thus becomes the prime location of touching the outside connections. A kitchen can never be a centric place in the dwelling, though a hearth was such a facility. The outside connections have occurred due to supplies of fuels, commodities and water, disposal of effluents and other wastes, ventilation for replacement of air and moisture, and view out as a relief from long duration occupation.

Werdenberg._Schlangenhaus._Ground_floor._Kitchen_-_010A ‘Kitchen’ consists Four main zones, storing, food processing area, cooking zone, and dining area. There could be other smaller identities such as fuel storage, water storage and kitchen utensils cleaning, laundry area, bathing area (in some ages and cultures), servants’ area (sleeping-resting). All these could be within an architectural space or in segmented form. The kitchen has been grounded or placed as a dungeon. In urban centers, this arrangement has not been possible in multi floored dwellings. Kitchens in Roman apartments on upper floors (such as on third or fourth floors) were not workable. Here the water, fuel and commodities supplies were difficult and disposal of solid waste more problematic. Romans relied more for foods on bakeries located at ground floors and for bathing used public toilets. The Parisian apartment or London raw house kitchens opened to backyards, not a place worthy to open out, through a window or door. In both types of cases, supplies were difficult to manage.

Roman Kitchen

Fuel and water supplies due to the bulk, and effluents and solid wastes have been irritants for kitchen arrangements. Every technical innovation, such as compact and high efficiency fuels, piped supply of water, drainage system, chimneys, glazed windows, has been readily accepted.


The dining, wherever possible, was first to be separated from the smoke-odour filled and soot-covered kitchen. The kitchen-dining could stay apart wherever servants were available and affordable, or had to be adjunct spaces. Similarly cloth and utensils washing became adjunct spaces. Bathing, which was part of the kitchen in colder climates, moved away.

Villa Rustica Ahrweiler Küche der Mansion

Villa Rustica Ahrweiler Küche der Mansion


A kitchen gradually became increasingly dependent on the outside world as supplies became diverse and more frequent. Urban kitchens depended on fresh and day to day supplies that were partly processed. These reduced the size of food processing area, wastes volume, fuel requirements, manpower needs and time involved in cooking. With smaller spatial requirements or more attuned space arrangement, the kitchen became a place to participate with a maid then delegate it to the maid. This also resulted in better recipes (rational processes) and quality of food.


The participation in cooking and related processes in a cleaner kitchen brought back the dining (at least breakfast, quick tea) to the kitchen. Participation by various members of family has seen many different trends. The modern age has offered outside work opportunities to women, resulting in much more intense sharing of the kitchen related responsibilities by other family members. The trend has been supported by kitchen design, gadgets, feeder and other services, pre-processed foods, and most importantly the fast food joints restaurants, and work place catering.




Post 362 – by Gautam Shah


Kitchen and Dining adjacency

Kitchen and Dining adjacency

Cooking and Dining, have been conjunct areas. Dining is intimately related to the food preparation activity. Dining area has been shifting close and away from cooking area. The reasons are due to environmental, ethnic, social, religious, organizational and technological reasons. Cooking and dining, originally flourished, in the same space segment; separated in the middle ages, and once again merged during the last century. The dining, however, is now poised to supersede the kitchen or cooking. Dining itself may become a food ‘preparation’ area.

Modern Design Residential Counter Kitchen Interior

The Kitchen-dining, have had varied proximity mainly due to the environmental factors. Cooking areas in all climate zones were untidy and uncomfortable due to heat, smoke, and soot, all due to poor quality fuels. To compound these odours of food preparation and garbage, were not easily manageable. In tropics it was possible to prepare food in open or semi-open spaces, but in colder climates environmental control was dependent on chimneys or roof holes. Natural illumination was another concern in absence of glazed openings. Cooking and dining, still remained adjunct to each other in all climate zones. In smaller dwellings, both remained in the same space, but in large mansions the retinue of servants mediated the separation.


Johann Heinrich Sturmer Kochin Wikipedia image

The dining area has had many different forms, depending on the nature of food, schedules, moods, companionship, sex, age and social standing of the diners, ambiance of space, and other engagements. Dining consists of morning tea, breakfast, lunch, brunch, afternoon tea and snacks, supper or evening meals, or late night caps. These are taken in different sections of the house. The settings for food consumption ranges from a stiff dining table to an informal verandah, nurseries, terraces, home garden, to very intimate one in bed.

Small kitchen

Small kitchen

Small houses due to space restraints may combine food preparation, cooking and dining to same section of the space and share the amenities. Urban families stay in smaller houses where dining is more of the functional need without any scope for social interaction. The busy life styles, (working husband and wife, other adults) does not permit extensive cooking at home, or have frequent dinner guests. A bar platform, once an intervening element between the kitchen and dining or the extension of a pantry, meant for brunch and fast-track meal; now began to replace the formal dining space and table. The functional bar like a platform with tall stools, allows one to have a quick-bite in a standing or semi-siting position. Such small dwellings and single person units do away with the formal dining table or a designated space.

Kitchen and dining

Kitchen store room

Indian Kitchen Pantry + Store Room

The kitchen and dining were once separated through a pantry. The pantry and store rooms began to be useless for several reasons, 24×7 hours assured supplies, smaller size of family and less frequent partying at home. The kitchen-dining also began to be connected through a door, often double leaf glass doors. The kitchen-dining connection was further dilated with removal of the mid-barriers. An exclusive kitchen conceded the living room (family room) to the drawing room, but a living room, well integrated with the kitchen, allowed the drawing room to exist on its own -a secluded space.

Kitchen – Dining – Family room –as one space

Dining room is merging into the kitchen for other reasons. For husband and wife as a working couple find the combined kitchen and dining with better chance of communication, for being together, and enjoy the soap operas.

Kitchen - Dining connection --double leaf glass doors

Kitchen – Dining connection –double leaf glass doors

Food preparation cooking, serving, and dining, were all well delineated in terms of the purpose, place and space. But these have been changing. Modern homes subsist on pre-cooked, preserved, ready packaged foods. These require warming in a microwave and the serviettes, dishes, bowls, tableware, are disposable. The working person has lunch at the workplace, and dinner in a restaurant. The kitchen and dining are deprived of their core functions.


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