Symphony Group > Articles
Published on 12 June 2020 10:16 - Last updated on 12 June 2020 14:19

Kitchen Design: Back to Basics

(Page 1 of 5)
1
2
3
4
5
Key Learning outcomes
  • Describe the specific sizes of the minimum elements
  • Ensure appropriate space is provided within a property to provide a functional kitchen
  • Apply actions to improve the kitchen spaces provided in residential properties
We’re all familiar with kitchens, and could easily name the common elements found in an average kitchen. But there’s an argument that this familiarity can prevent us from really considering what makes a kitchen function well, and what minimum space standards should be applied. Add to this the fact that kitchen design is notoriously under-regulated, and that clear guidance is hard to find, and the result is many kitchen spaces that are too small for an attractive and functional kitchen.

This article aims to address these problems, by considering:
• A summary of the existing standards and regulations that can be applied.
• The minimum elements and space required for a functional kitchen.
• The elements that consumers expect in addition to the minimum requirements.
• The steps architects can take to aid kitchen designers in providing functional and attractive kitchens.

1.0 Standards and Guidance

With the exception of wheelchair accessible and adaptable dwellings, the building regulations include very little detail on minimum kitchen furniture provision and space standards. Historically, there have been attempts to outline minimum storage and fitment requirements for kitchens – for example through the Scheme Development Standards and the London Housing Design Guide – but all have since been replaced with much less stringent requirements (although, in our experience, many social housing providers continue to choose to follow the historical guidelines). The NHBC standards include some simple bullet points covering the functions the kitchen should provide for, but are not specific about the furniture required to comfortably perform these functions. All the guidelines ensure that kitchens in new build properties will meet the basic requirements of a kitchen, while leaving room for architects and kitchen designers to decide how to meet these standards.
In short, there is very little clear and specific technical guidance for architects on the actual minimum space required to provide a functional kitchen. This article aims to address this lack of clear guidance, by outlining the specific sizes of items that should always be included and by giving examples of how they might fit into a space.
A functional kitchen provides, at a minimum, the ability to cook, prepare, and store food. The fitted kitchen has evolved around these three basic functions, frequently adapted for the latest appliances and lifestyle trends. The kitchens featured in current consumer magazines are often open plan, with multiple appliances, and featuring large islands designed for cooking, entertaining, eating, and working. While desirable, this is not a realistic goal for many projects. When space is at a premium, it is necessary to provide at least enough space for the fundamental elements required in every kitchen, so that it can perform, at a minimum, the three basic functions.
A large open plan kitchen with an island is desirable, but not always possible
A large open plan kitchen with an island is desirable, but not always possible
 
(Page 1 of 5)
1
2
3
4
5
 

About

Pen Hill Estate
Park Spring Road
Barnsley
South Yorkshire
S72 7EZ
Robert Newton
Tel +44 (0)1226 446 241
robert.newton@symphony-group.co.uk
The information contained in the CPD article web pages is not intended and accordingly shall not be relied upon either as a substitute for professional advice or judgement or to provide legal or other advice with respect to any particular circumstance. RIBA Enterprises accepts no responsibility for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the information contained.
Download PDF version