The Feminist Architect Who Tried to Liberate Kitchens From Houses

Our thanks to Robert for this. You can’t beat photographs of feminists in dungarees. The end of the piece:

Ultimately, the kitchenless house was never built. In Utopianism and Radicalism in a Reforming America, Francis Robert Shor writes that, due to a lack of capital and water, as well as American involvement in the First World War in 1917, the Llano Del Rio commune had all but disappeared in California by 1918. Austin’s dream of a kitchenless socialist city died with it, but she continued to write and speak about the possibilities of the design into the 1920s and 1930s, focusing on technology and the role it would play in eliminating housework for every citizen.

While Austin’s design for the kitchenless house was not the first of its kind, Hayden writes in the academic journal Signs in 1978 that Austin was the first architect to envision an end to domestic drudgery on such a large scale, and the first to expand the idea outside the confines of an individual dwelling and into an entire community. Maybe, as feminism moves firmly to mainstream pop culture in 21rst (sic) century America, we may yet see it show up in home design.

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2 thoughts on “The Feminist Architect Who Tried to Liberate Kitchens From Houses

  1. In Thomas More’s “Utopia”, while the inhabitants do have private homes, the private kitchen is a rarity. People ate communally, and it was only due to illness or other misfortune that they prepared their own food.

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