Mankind gathers at the stove again

The kitchen is again very much at the center of attention in modern architecture. A historical cycle is being closed – A short journey through time.

Throughout ancient times

Open fireplaces double up as places to cook. They are often used communally by several families together — that’s what archaeological findings in Anatolia and Mesopotamia suggest.

800 BC to 300 AD
The houses of wealthy Greeks are the first to feature kitchens in a separate room. Roman villas have separate kitchens, too — which also protect the residents from exposure to smoke. Most of the time only slaves work there.


European Middle Ages

Ordinary people live in houses without a separate kitchen space but which have a fireplace instead — and a hole in the roof allowing the smoke to escape. The fire is a light and heat source. In the late Middle Ages, kitchens move from the center of the room to the wall and the first brick stoves are built. Cooking is done in tripod cauldrons which can be adjusted for height. Aristocrats usually set up their kitchens in separate buildings because of the fire risks.


Early modern period
There is a huge increase in the number of cooking utensils (e.g., different pots and spits) that need to be stored in the kitchens of wealthy people. Fireplaces are walled in and covered with iron sheets. There are round openings for the pots on top. The first completely closed stove is built in the 18th century.


19th century

A kitchen, which also features aseparate entrance for deliveries, is at the heart of upper-class households — but it’s well hidden. Bit by bit, industrialization enters this space too: running water, more compact cooking machines, gas and electric stoves.


Diese Frankfurter Küche ist im Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg als Teil der Sammlungspräsentation Moderne zu sehen

20th century

The Bauhaus-influenced “Frankfurt Kitchen” becomes the prototype for fitted kitchens: functional, practical, space-saving — and separate from the living area.


From the 1980s

More and more people ask for individually designed kitchen-living rooms. The kitchen — which had been architecturally hidden for a long time — now becomes the new living room where family and friends get together.

Bild-Credits: Viktoriia Hnatiuk / iStock; PRISMA ARCHIVO / Alamy Stock Foto; Giorgio Cosulich/Getty Images; Frankfurter Küche: Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, 1926 (Eigentum der Stiftung Hamburger Kunstsammlungen), Foto: Martin Luther und Dirk Fellenberg


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