End of the kitchen triangle?

  • Blog Post by: $author
  • February 27, 2012 - 10:53 AM

Since the 1940s, kitchen design has hewed to the theory of a triangle formed by the cooktop, refrigerator and sink -- a theory developed by the University of Illinois School of Architecture. Chances are, this was the kitchen  you grew up in.

Now, though, the triangle may be changing -- dying, even.

Susan Serra, an award winning kitchen designer and founder of Bornholm Kitchen,, recently posed the notion that the triangle's time has come to end, due to how differently we se kitchens today.

One big change, Serra said, is that kitchen's are no longer a housewife's domain. Multiple generations are living and cooking together, with different needs. Maybe the refrigerator leaves the triangle to a spot that seems less convenient, but actually enables it to be more accessible to kids who can serve themselves snacks or drinks while parents are preparing a meal. Or, frankly, given the ease of some teenagers in the kitchen these days, the opposite division of duties may be the case!

Further, Serra said, the new "traditional family" bears little resemblance to the fam of even a generation ago. Cultural traditions are co-mingling, which can affect where prep, cooking and serving occur. Plus, we simply hang out in our ktichens more than we used to. Islands accommodate schmoozing and kibitzing. It's where appetizers are laid out at a party. TVs and computers are as much as part of today's kitchens as were Sunbeam mixers and waffle irons. All of this has an impact on that simple triangle, if only because the cook may be "watching" a recipe on a screen.

Bottom line, Serra said that as cooking has become more of a personal, creative statement, the traditional triangle may need to be tweaked. So free yourselves, stir-fryers of the world! When designing your kitchen, look at what works for you, rather than how you can fit your style into tradition.

But don't be surprised if, after all is considered, that you end up with an arrangement that looks a lot like a triangle. Or trapezoid?


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