<h1 class="page">COUNTER SPACE: THE FRANKFURT KITCHEN</h1> <div id="main" class="the_frankfurt_kitchen"> <div id="header"> Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen </div> <div id="cs_nav" class="the_frankfurt_kitchen"> <a href="/interactives/exhibitions/2010/counter_space" class="introduction">Introduction</a> <a href="/interactives/exhibitions/2010/counter_space/the_new_kitchen" class="the_new_kitchen">The New Kitchen</a> <a href="/interactives/exhibitions/2010/counter_space/the_frankfurt_kitchen" class="the_frankfurt_kitchen">The Frankfurt Kitchen</a> <a href="/interactives/exhibitions/2010/counter_space/visions_of_plenty" class="visions_of_plenty">Visions of Plenty</a> <a href="/interactives/exhibitions/2010/counter_space/kitchen_sink_dramas" class="kitchen_sink_dramas">Kitchen Sink Dramas</a> <a href="/interactives/exhibitions/2010/counter_space/blog" class="blog">Blog</a> <br class="clear" /> </div> <div id="content"> <h1 class="double">The Frankfurt Kitchen</h1> <p id="cs_quote">The New Dwelling sets for its occupants the task of rethinking everything afresh, organizing a new lifestyle, and of winning freedom from the irrelevant clutter of outmoded habits of thought and old-fashioned equipment.<br /> <span class="cs_quotee">&ndash; Franz Schuster, <i>Das neue Frankfurt (The New Frankfurt)</i>, 1927</span></p> <h5>The New Frankfurt, 1925–30</h5> <p><a href="#highlights"><img src="/images/counter_space/images/1_newff.jpg" alt="" width="375" height="120" /></a></p> <p>War and inflation precipitated a housing crisis in all major German cities, including Frankfurt, where the response was an ambitious program known as the New Frankfurt. This initiative encompassed the construction of affordable public housing and modern amenities throughout the city. At the core of this transformation were about 10,000 kitchens designed by Grete Schütte-Lihotzky and constructed as an integral element of the new dwelling units.</p> <p>The Frankfurt Kitchen, as it was known—rational, unpretentious, and socially oriented—was conceived as one of the first steps toward building a better, more egalitarian world in the late 1920s. Under the overall direction of chief city architect Ernst May, new architectural forms, new materials, and new construction methods were applied throughout. Within five years, more than ten percent of Frankfurt’s population was living in housing and communities that were newly designed. In 1930, at the request of the Soviet Russian government, May led a “building brigade,” whose members included Schütte-Lihotzky, to implement the lessons of Frankfurt on an even larger scale in the planning of new industrial towns in the Soviet Union.</p> <h5>The Architect: Margarete (Grete) Schütte-Lihotzky (1897–2000)</h5> <p><a href="#highlights"><img src="/images/counter_space/images/2_lady.jpg" alt="" width="375" height="120" /></a><br /> <span class="caption">© University of Applied Arts, Vienna</span></p> <p> The Frankfurt Kitchen is the earliest work by a female architect in MoMA’s collection. Reminiscing about her decision to study architecture, Schütte-Lihotzky remarked that “in 1916 no one would have conceived of a woman being commissioned to build a house—not even myself.” Inspired by her mentor at the Vienna School of Applied Arts, Oskar Strnad, she became involved in designing affordable housing and worked with another Viennese architect, Adolf Loos, on planning settlements for World War I veterans. </p> <p> Impressed by the functional clarity that she applied to housing problems and kitchen design in these projects, Ernst May invited her to join his Frankfurt department in 1926. She remains best known for the Frankfurt Kitchen, but her achievements as an architect working in the Soviet Union, Turkey, and Austria were more varied. During World War II her career was interrupted by four years in prison for her activities in the anti-Nazi resistance movement. In the Cold War period that followed, her professional opportunities in Austria were limited because of her continued membership in the Communist Party.</p> <h5>The Frankfurt Kitchen</h5> <p><a href="#highlights"><img class="indented" src="/images/counter_space/images/3_ffk.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="120" /></a></p> <p>The Frankfurt Kitchen was designed like a laboratory or factory and based on contemporary theories about efficiency, hygiene, and workflow. In planning the design, Schütte-Lihotzky conducted detailed time-motion studies and interviews with housewives and women’s groups. </p> <p> Each kitchen came complete with a swivel stool, a gas stove, built-in storage, a fold-down ironing board, an adjustable ceiling light, and a removable garbage drawer. Labeled aluminum storage bins provided tidy organization for staples like sugar and rice as well as easy pouring. Careful thought was given to materials for specific functions, such as oak flour containers (to repel mealworms) and beech cutting surfaces (to resist staining and knife marks).</p> <h2 id="highlights">highlights</h2> <div class="gallery JS_BlogGallery JS_CounterSpaceBlogGallery" id="gallery8252"> <script type="text/javascript">var gallery8252 = {"url":"http:\/\/www.moma.org\/explore\/inside_out\/counter-space\/the-frankfurt-kitchen\/","images":[{"url":"http:\/\/www.moma.org\/explore\/inside_out\/inside_out\/wp-content\/uploads\/2010\/08\/01_FK-Archival-Photo.jpg","width":339,"height":475,"caption":"<span class=\"object\">The Frankfurt Kitchen: view toward the window<\/span><span class=\"object_date\">1926<\/span>","description":"After reading Christine Frederick\’s book on household efficiency in 1921, Sch\ütte- Lihotzky became convinced that \“women\’s struggle for economic independence and personal development meant that the rationalization of housework was an absolute necessity.\” Her primary goal in the design of the Frankfurt Kitchen was to reduce the burden of women\’s labor in the home.\r\nThe design of a kitchen by a woman helped promote the modernization of housing in Frankfurt to those who viewed cooking and cleaning as women\’s work, but as Sch\ütte-Lihotzky pointed out, \“The truth of the matter was, I\’d never run a household before designing the Frankfurt Kitchen, I\’d never cooked, and had no idea about cooking.\” The Frankfurt Kitchen comprised three basic models, each with minor variations. The type exhibited here was the most common and least costly."},{"url":"http:\/\/www.moma.org\/explore\/inside_out\/inside_out\/wp-content\/uploads\/2010\/08\/FFK_features.gif","width":585,"height":475,"caption":"<span class=\"object\">Plan of the Frankfurt Kitchen indicating its labor saving features<\/span><span class=\"object_date\">1927<\/span>","description":""},{"url":"http:\/\/www.moma.org\/explore\/inside_out\/inside_out\/wp-content\/uploads\/2010\/08\/FFK_plan.jpg","width":585,"height":475,"caption":"<span class=\"object\">Floor plan of a house on Kurhessenstrasse, Frankfurt<\/span><span class=\"object_date\">1928<\/span>","description":"The Frankfurt Kitchen was planned for food preparation and cleanup, with a sliding door that opened to the living-dining area. \“The problem of organizing the daily work of the housewife in a systematic manner is equally important for all classes of society,\” wrote Sch\ütte-Lihotzky in 1926. \“To achieve this, the arrangement of the kitchen and its relationship to the other rooms in the dwelling must be considered first.\”"},{"url":"http:\/\/www.moma.org\/explore\/inside_out\/inside_out\/wp-content\/uploads\/2010\/08\/06_-FK-hohenblick-plan.jpg","width":492,"height":475,"caption":"<span class=\"object\">Street plan of the Ginnheim-H\öhenblick housing estate, Frankfurt<\/span><span class=\"object_date\">1928<\/span>","description":""},{"url":"http:\/\/www.moma.org\/explore\/inside_out\/inside_out\/wp-content\/uploads\/2010\/08\/05_-FK-Kurhessenstrasse1.jpg","width":585,"height":364,"caption":"<span class=\"object\">Kurhessenstrasse on the Ginnheim-H\öhenblick housing estate, Frankfurt<\/span><span class=\"object_date\">1930<\/span>","description":"The Frankfurt Kitchen in MoMA\’s collection [on view in the exhibition] was salvaged in 1993 from the second floor of the corner house in this photograph (124 Kurhessenstrasse).\r\nFlat roofs and standardized forms were characteristic of the estates built for the New Frankfurt. In 1930 Ernst May stated: \“The exterior form of the Frankfurt housing estates developed out of the given facts of the interiors and rejects the pretentious gestures and decorative embellishments of old or new origin.\""},{"url":"http:\/\/www.moma.org\/explore\/inside_out\/inside_out\/wp-content\/uploads\/2010\/08\/07_FK-Street1.jpg","width":585,"height":425,"caption":"<span class=\"object\">View of street in the Ginnheim-H\öhenblick housing estate, Frankfurt<\/span><span class=\"object_date\">1928<\/span>","description":""},{"url":"http:\/\/www.moma.org\/explore\/inside_out\/inside_out\/wp-content\/uploads\/2010\/08\/08_-Schutte-Lihotzky-labcoat.jpg","width":409,"height":475,"caption":"<span class=\"object\">Grete Sch\ütte-Lihotzky (seated) with colleagues from the Frankfurt Municipal Building Department<\/span><span class=\"object_date\">c. 1928<\/span><span class=\"caption\">\© University of Applied Arts, Vienna<\/span>","description":"Sch\ütte-Lihotzky was the only woman in the team of architects assembled by Ernst May, director of Frankfurt\’s Municipal Building Department. The white lab coats worn by the architects emphasize the team\’s rational, scientific approach."},{"url":"http:\/\/www.moma.org\/explore\/inside_out\/inside_out\/wp-content\/uploads\/2010\/08\/12_Frankfurt-Estate-Map.jpg","width":514,"height":475,"caption":"<span class=\"object\">Frankfurt city plan showing new satellite housing estates<\/span><span class=\"object_date\">1930<\/span>","description":"Between 1925 and 1930 more than fifteen new housing estates were constructed around the city in accordance with Ernst May\’s master plan."},{"url":"http:\/\/www.moma.org\/explore\/inside_out\/inside_out\/wp-content\/uploads\/2010\/08\/13_Housing-Construction1.jpg","width":585,"height":389,"caption":"<span class=\"object\">Construction of test houses in Frankfurt using prefabricated concrete panels<\/span><span class=\"object_date\">1926<\/span>","description":""},{"url":"http:\/\/www.moma.org\/explore\/inside_out\/inside_out\/wp-content\/uploads\/2010\/08\/15_Frankfurt-industrial-district1.jpg","width":585,"height":416,"caption":"<span class=\"object\">Frankfurt industrial district<\/span><span class=\"object_date\">1928<\/span>","description":""},{"url":"http:\/\/www.moma.org\/explore\/inside_out\/inside_out\/wp-content\/uploads\/2010\/08\/16_Das-Neue-Frankfurt-.jpg","width":425,"height":475,"caption":"<span class=\"object\"><i>Das neue Frankfurt (The New Frankfurt)<\/i> magazine from 1930, illustrating the range of its international subscribers<\/span>","description":"This monthly magazine publicized Frankfurt\’s modernization program to audiences around the world."},{"url":"http:\/\/www.moma.org\/explore\/inside_out\/inside_out\/wp-content\/uploads\/2010\/08\/17_Frankfurt-flight-connections.jpg","width":486,"height":475,"caption":"<span class=\"object\">Flight destinations from Frankfurt<\/span><span class=\"object_date\">1928<\/span>","description":"In the 1920s Frankfurt am Main was a major German industrial center positioned at the hub of an international transportation and communications network."}]};</script> <noscript> <div class="wp-caption"> <img src="http://www.moma.org/explore/inside_out/inside_out/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/01_FK-Archival-Photo.jpg" width="339" height="475" alt="<span class="object">The Frankfurt Kitchen: view toward the window</span><span class="object_date">1926</span>" /> <p class="wp-caption-text"><span class="object">The Frankfurt Kitchen: view toward the window</span><span class="object_date">1926</span></p> </div> </noscript> </div> <h2 id="videos">videos</h2> <div id="videos"> <a href="#video1" rel="videobox"><img src="http://moma.org/images/dynamic_content/media_small/45688.png" alt="" width="190" /></a><br /><a href="#video1" rel="videobox">The Frankfurt Kitchen <span class="date">2008</span></a><br /> <span class="materials">Black and white, sound<br />3:42 min.<br /> Music, words, paintings, and script by Robert Rotifer<br />Animation, camera, and production by Lelo Brossmann and Stefan Csaky (Shock &#038; Awe Video Productions, Vienna)</p> <p>Courtesy Robert Rotifer and Lelo Brossmann</span> </div> <div id="video1" class="hidden"> <a href="http://moma.org/video_file/video_file/679/Rotifer_-_The_Frankfurt_Kitchen_H264.flv" class="asset">The Frankfurt Kitchen</a><a href="http://moma.org/images/dynamic_content/media_normal/45688.png" class="image">The Frankfurt Kitchen</a> </div> </div> <div id="sidebar"> <div id="recentblogs"> <h3>recent blog posts</h3> <ul> <li> <small>April 28, 2011</small> <a href="/interactives/exhibitions/2010/counter_space/blog/hidden-kitchens">Hidden Kitchens</a> </li> <li> <small>March 2, 2011</small> <a href="/interactives/exhibitions/2010/counter_space/blog/home-is-where-the-art-is">Home Is Where the Art Is</a> </li> <li> <small>February 21, 2011</small> <a href="/interactives/exhibitions/2010/counter_space/blog/today-a-live-streaming-walkthrough-of-the-counter-space-exhibition">Today: A Live-Streaming Walkthrough of the <i>Counter Space</i> Exhibition</a> </li> <li> <small>February 15, 2011</small> <a href="/interactives/exhibitions/2010/counter_space/blog/eat-drink-read-moma">Eat, Drink, (Read!) MoMA</a> </li> <li> <small>December 23, 2010</small> <a href="/interactives/exhibitions/2010/counter_space/blog/kitchen-culture-in-motion">Kitchen Culture, In Motion</a> </li> </ul> </div> <div id="collection"><a href="http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?SHR&tag=CounterSpace">view selected works<br>in the online collection</a></div> <div id="links"> <ul> <li><a href="http://store.moma.org/museum/moma/ProductDisplay_Counter%20Space:%20Design%20and%20the%20Modern%20Kitchen%20%2528HC%2529_10451_10001_105946_-1_26683_11492_105961?cm_mmc=MoMA-_-Other-_-Subsites-_-Counter+Space">publication</a></li> <li> <a href="/interactives/exhibitions/2010/counter_space/resources">resources</a></li> <li> <a href="/interactives/exhibitions/2010/counter_space/credits">credits</a></li> <li><a href="http://moma.org/wp/inside_out/category/exhibitions/current/counter-space/feed/">rss</a></li> </div> <div id="events"> <h3>related events</h3> <div class="JS_Widget"> <a href="/widgets/calendar/counter_space/list/10000" rel=""></a> </div> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div> </div> <br class="clear" /> </div>