While the kitchen is a ubiquitous part of almost every home—and, in many cases, is considered symbolic of domestic living entirely—it can also take up precious space, produce visual clutter, and detract from the minimalist aesthetic of an otherwise sleek, modern home. For some homeowners, the solution is simply to keep the kitchen clean and organized at all times. But for some innovative contemporary architects and their clients, the solution is to design a compact, concealable kitchen that can quickly and easily be shuttered out of view. Below, we discuss several examples of hidden kitchens, as well as some common techniques and strategies of designing them.
The height of the ceiling of a space heavily influences our perception of it. Generally, local building codes regulate the minimum dimensions for ceiling height, which are calculated to ensure adequate quality of life in the environment. But the exact height of the ceilings is often defined by the dimensions of other materials that make up the building, the height of the constitutive slabs, or even by rounding the dimensions of the stair steps. It is common, with the densification of cities aimed at increasing profitability, for entrepreneurs to design with minimum ceiling heights in houses and offices, reducing construction costs. On the other hand, in older structures, more generous ceilings can be observed, which generally enable a greater degree of design freedom. But how can architects make the most of these spaces?
Whether by traditional windows, linear openings in the wall, or skylights, the manipulation and incorporation of natural lighting in architectural projects can render a radical change in interior spaces.
Architects are known for returning from travel with more photos of buildings than people and for having an esoteric vocabulary of their own. Of course, these are clichés that are not always true. But something that unites most designers is the tendency to pay attention to each detail that makes up a project, be it the material that covers the facade, the junction between different floors, how the doors open, the type of window frame, how the forms were put together for concreting, and more. But a detail that often goes unnoticed – and that makes a huge difference in interior design – is baseboards.
Peter Zumthor, in one of his most emblematic works, gives concrete an almost sacred dimension. The work in question is the small Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, located in a small village in Germany, a construction that is both robust and sensitive. Built with white cement, which was mixed with stones and sand from the region, the chapel is composed of 24 layers of concrete that were poured day after day by local labor, and compressed in an unusual way. The building's flat and smooth exterior contrasts with its interior, which was initially made of inclined wooden logs forming a triangular void. To remove these internal forms, the logs were set on fire in a controlled process, reducing them to ash and creating a carbonized interior that varied between black and gray and retained the texture of the negatives of the logs. The result is a masterpiece of architecture, a space for reflection and transformation, in which the same material appears in diametrically opposing ways.