Kitchen design > GEHAG Kitchen

Although no specific kitchens were commissioned for Berlin’s World Heritage housing estates, Bruno Taut, the architect in charge of four of the six properties, developed a show kitchen around 1926 with Franz Hillinger of GEHAG’s design department. It was intended solely for the Onkel-Toms-Hütte housing estate in Berlin-Zehlendorf, but became a standard kitchen on quite a few of Berlin’s World Heritage housing estates. The GEHAG Kitchen by Taut and Hillinger is a combined dining area and working kitchen. Besides a kitchen unit and a large multi-purpose cupboard, it has a small folding table with seating for family members to perform little chores such as peeling potatoes. This design allowed typical household roles to be relaxed.

Taut was concerned about the role of women in the household, but this was probably out of self-interest: like most architects, Taut wanted the houses and apartments he designed to be modern and stylishly furnished. Taut assumed that women made most of the key interior design decisions, so he tended to address them instead of the male audience. In his pioneering book Die Neue Wohnung (The New Home) published in 1924, Taut tried to convince women to make their homes as modern and rational as possible, since this would save time and work. "The architect thinks, the woman directs" became an oft-quoted catchphrase from the introduction of Taut's book. Today this sounds like a limited form of emancipation, but back then, it was nothing short of daring.

An original GEHAG Kitchen from the Zehlendorf estate can be viewed in the Horseshoe Estate’s Infostation, a café-cum-exhibition space open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon. The kitchen in Taut’s Home was based on the GEHAG version and is fully available to guests as part of the rental.

Re-located kitchen as part of the exhibition inside the Infostation Hufeisensiedlung, photo: BB
Re-interpretation of the typical GEHAG kitchen as part of the rentable museum Tautes Heim (Taut´s Home), Source: