Margarete Schütte-Lihotsky, Austrian, 1897-2000, Frankfurt Kitchen, 1926-1930, Kitchen cabinetry and stove, Gift of funds from Regis Foundation, 2004.195
The Frankfurt Kitchen, part of an ambitious citywide project to create affordable housing after WWI, was extremely influential throughout Europe into the 1930s and still stands as the epitome of “scientific” organization for the domestic workspace.
City Architect Ernst May hired Schütte-Lihotzky, one of the first female architects in Austria, to design a rationally planned kitchen for 10,000 integrated housing units over a four-year period. She analyzed key principles for household design and labor, and positioned each kitchen element carefully, minimizing unnecessary steps as well as providing labor-saving devices and increasing physical comfort.
The kitchen’s many innovative features included integrated units, continuous work surfaces, a worktable for preparing food under a large window adjacent to the sink (both set at a convenient height for use while seated), as well as storage bins with handles and spouts, an adjustable ceiling light, a movable stool, a concealed pass-through, drop-down ironing board, and cabinetry painted blue, supposedly to repel flies.
Jennifer Komar Olivarez
Associate Curator, Decorative Arts, Textiles, and Sculpture
Minneapolis Institute of Arts