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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  no.98 Santiago abr. 2018 


Beyond “Labor of Love”

Anna Puigjaner1 

1Maio Architects, Barcelona, España.


While we usually understand cooking as part of the domestic environment - and therefore, private - this research shows that this is not always the case. Throughout a journey to different parts of the world, we see that collective kitchens have a massive dimension that we tend to overlook. Anna Puigjaner's photographs allow us to appreciate that what we consider private can be public, acquiring thus a new potential for transformation.

Keywords: kitchen; Wheelwright Prize; gender; domesticity; collective.

Source: © Anna Puigjaner

Figure 1 Care Yoshikawa. Urban kitchen for children. Chie Konno project (t e c o) in Saitama, 2017. 

From the Frankfurt kitchen (1926) to the well-known Kitchen Debate starring Nixon and Khrushchev in 1959 Moscow - where the kitchen was merely a backdrop capable of exemplifying two antagonistic ideologies - over the last century kitchens were understood as a tool capable of linking macroeconomics with microeconomics, especially through the redefinition of domestic work and gender roles. Household tasks were reaffirmed in what Silvia Federici called “Labor of Love,” and have neither managed to legitimize their status of regulated work, nor to transform or quantify their economic or wage value, following a process where consequences are still evident and in which we are still immersed.

Source: © Anna Puigjaner

Figure 2 Volunteer leading an urban kitchen for children in Tōkyō-ken, 2017. 

Source: © Anna Puigjaner

Figure 3 Urban kitchen in Montreal, 2017. 

We can thus hardly think of the kitchen in isolation, as separated from an extensive network of urban, social and political relations. Faced with the institutionalization of “Labor of Love,” a series of proposals for the construction of the kitchen from a collective standpoint have tried, in different contexts, to reformulate pre-established working and social conditions.

Source: © Anna Puigjaner

Figure 4 Urban kitchen in Singapore, 2017. 

Source: © Anna Puigjaner

Figure 5 Seniors’ urban kitchen in Singapore, 2017. 

Two years ago I started a journey around the world to document some paradigmatic examples of shared or collective kitchens. Despite their different origins and natures, they all have a common denominator. Pushing the kitchen beyond the pre-established boundaries of the house extends the domestic outside the private sphere. A gesture that allows not only expanding the domestic - the domestication of urban space - but, at the same time, exposes the increasingly blurred boundaries between the public and the private, between the house and the city.

Source: © Anna Puigjaner

Figure 6 Urban kitchen in Mexico City, 2017. 

Source: © Anna Puigjaner

Figure 7 Urban kitchen in Montreal, 2017. 

Following extraordinarily different cases and motivations, through that expansion of the domestic beyond the house, the private becomes public, since, what until now was limited to the immediate or the familiar, accentuates its political and potentially transformative features.

Source: © Anna Puigjaner

Figure 8 Urban kitchen in Mexico City, 2017. 

Source: © Anna Puigjaner

Figure 9 Urban kitchen in Mexico City, 2017. 

* Anna Puigjaner Architect, ETSAB, UPC, Barcelona, ​​Spain, 2004. MArch, ETSAB, UPC, Barcelona, ​​Spain, 2008. Doctor in Architecture, ETSAB, UPC, Barcelona, ​​Spain, 2014. Co-founder of MAIO Architects, Barcelona, ​​Spain. Was editor of Quaderns magazine, Colegio de Arquitectos de Cataluña (2011-2016). Her projects have been exhibited at Venice (2016) and Chicago (2017) biennials, and at the Oslo triennial (2016), among others. She was awarded with the Wheelwright Prize, Harvard GSD, 2016.

Creative Commons License Este es un artículo publicado en acceso abierto bajo una licencia Creative Commons