New York is famous for having many apartments that have no kitchen. As we approach a period of self-isolation, I was not only thinking about the many people in high-rise apartments in New York with no cooking facilities, but also about the role a kitchen place within a shared home.
I had better get it out there right away and say that, personally, I am a great fan of kitchens. It’s the place where casual conversations take place and where we commune to prepare and share meals and so much more.
Kitchens are the place where casual conversations take place
If I were designing a co-living place, which I am incidentally, it would have a central kitchen with enough space to sit and chat as well as to have meals together. It would be a place that you had to pass by in order to get to your own room and would be separate from the lounge. Lounges can be omitted, whereas kitchens or rather kitchen-diners cannot.
Preparing a meal for people and then sharing it is a great activity in itself, but I really wonder what people will do in small apartments with no cooking facilities and more importantly no other room in which to share their news. Modern cities and especially New York are built around the premise that you can go out to eat or buy anything you need, at any hour of the day. So suddenly when you can't that is a bit tricky.
As developers increasingly make kitchens smaller and smaller, to the point where they disappear in from apartments in some cities, so we need to think more about the role this room plays, and the role of eating the food that you have prepared yourself plays, it making someone feel at home.
For longer-term residents of apartments and converted houses, as people over 40 tend to be, a kitchen area and a place to prepare meals seems essential.
'Feeling at home' is quite different to being somewhere physical. It's about the interactions between people that often feel effortless and adds value to one's life.
That's why a kitchen for me is so important. It's not a place where one thing alone is done, but more a place where many things can be done and often at the same time.
Losing one’s freedom for a number of weeks is bad enough, but not having anywhere to share meals would make things even harder.