Kitchens as Cultural Mediums

Adapting architecture for immigrant women

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Town, City

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In Robinson’s ‘Institution and Home: Architecture as a Cultural Medium’ (2008), the research addresses architecture as a medium for cultural continuity and change. The term cultural medium is used to describe how architecture can communicate cultural practices. These may be practices that the architecture is supportive of or practices that it has constructed. In this sense, architecture can communicate set cultural notions or manipulate them to communicate some iteration of these.

In Rebecca’s writing, a kitchen that functions as a cultural medium is defined as a space that facilitates an experience and in doing so, allows cultural practices to be communicated. In this circumstance, food and the ritual of eating comes to embody everything that is ‘culture’ and it is this practice that the architecture supports. In addition, the way the architecture facilitates this mediation offers an opportunity for new cultural practices to be constructed.

Having spent two weeks in Stockholm for research in November 2015, her study looks to a suburb of Sweden and an immigrant population of Turkish women to consider how such an architecture might function. In doing so, it concludes that kitchens as cultural mediums allow an indigenous Swedish population to experience a different culture through food and might offer opportunities for the immigrant Turkish population to build new social structures.