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Frankfurt Kitchen

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Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky (1897-2000)1926

The post-World War I breakdown of Germany was rife with efforts for social reform and the idea of the “New Man”, who now required adequate living spaces. In the 1920s, architects planned to replace the once sombre and stuffy blocks of flats with white, airy and flexible architectur that were to light. The housing project “Neues Frankfurt”, which lasted from 1925 to 1930, was expected to demonstrate the idea of a better world on the basis of a functional form of urban living. The motto of this project was: “building from the cooking pot to the façade”. According to this motto, the floor plans of these flats were based on out from the kitchen and the requirements of housekeeping. With a mere 6,5 square metres, the Viennese architect Margarethe Schütte-Lihotzky, who had been hired specifically for the task, designed a fitted kitchen, that adhered to a rigid order of functional zones and sequences of movement within. Her kitchen combines practical innovation, aesthetic aspects, such as the blue colour to repel insects, and economic requirements, the kitchen cost only 238,50 Reichsmarks, with the modern woman striving for emancipation, shown by the new ease of doing the housework to a completely novel, hygienic laboratory. The Frankfurt Kitchen is the first model of a fitted kitchen in history. It paved the way for the rationalisation of private homes. In the New Frankfurt 10,000 flats were fitted with this kitchen, which was quickly noticed and copied internationally.