Re: Why is the kitchen considered more "public" than the living room? (offshoot of: Explaining "built environment" to lay people)
From: Kay Wilson Fisk (kwwilsonbartcommunity.org)
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 2008 10:03:26 -0800 (PST)
...why isn't the living room (or family room, if the living room 
is a separate more formal room) on the outside rather than the kitchen?

My first thought is that, traditionally, women spent a lot of time at the
sink, preparing food and washing dishes, and having an interesting view was
one way they entertained their mind while their hands were busy.

In my case, my kitchen window overlooks a landscaping and garden area, with
the woods beyond. Even though I don't spend much time at the sink, I still
enjoy the view when I do.

My entry, which is next to my kitchen, faces the community pathway system,
and I like being able to close or open the blinds, depending on how public
or private I feel like being.

Kay


-----Original Message-----
From: David Heimann [mailto:heimann [at] theworld.com] 
Sent: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 5:05 PM
To: cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org
Subject: [C-L]_ Why is the kitchen considered more "public" than the living
room? (offshoot of: Explaining "built environment" to lay people)



Hello Everyone,

        Cat's mention of kitchen windows overlooking the front path 
reminds me of a question I have about that form of architecture.  We have 
the kitchens overlooking as well the external corridors/paths, done this 
way because of an assumption that the kitchen is the most public area of a 
private dwelling.  However, I have never found my use of rooms to be that 
way, whether in cohousing or in previous living situations.  Right now, in 
a 4-room flat, I find the two bedrooms to be private spaces, the kitchen a 
place in which I spend only the time needed to prepare meals, and the 
living room as the place where I sit when I most like to see neighbors. 
For me, therefore, the living room should be the room along the external 
corridor.  However, in actual fact it's the kitchen that occupies that 
space, which for me impedes my interaction with neighbors when I'm at home 
(besides which, my kitchen tends to be more cluttered than my living 
room).  So, why isn't the living room (or family room, if the living room 
is a separate more formal room) on the outside rather than the kitchen?

Thanks,
David Heimann
JP Cohousing


Date: Sat, 20 Dec 2008 11:22:04 -0500
From: Catya Belfer-Shevett <catya [at] homeport.org>
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ explaining "built environment" to lay people
To: Cohousing-L <cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org>
Message-ID: <494D1BAC.8020103 [at] homeport.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed

I generally go with "designing for community" and then give examples
like kitchen windows that overlook the front path, front porches, a
scale from private to public as you go from the back of your house to
the main path, that sort of thing.

        - cat

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