Community Kitchens: The Challenge of Generating Roots in Displaced Communities

Displacement implies uncertainty, uprooting, and instability, in addition to the loss of community, privacy, and physical and emotional orientation. Addressing these needs through appropriate architectural responses can help displaced communities regain social, economic, and environmental well-being. In this context, community kitchens are designed to help generate a sense of belonging and “normality” in domestic lives.

The need to provide accommodation for communities that are forced to move from their homes due to the impact of climatic factors, political and cultural conflicts, is fundamental. Thus, temporary housing solutions appear that can be implemented quickly and efficiently. However, due to their temporary condition, they often do not contemplate domestic life and the needs around daily practices, such as the act of cooking or sharing a meal. The community kitchen projects selected below face this challenge.

Community Kitchen of Terras da Costa / ateliermob + Colectivo Warehouse

© Fernando Guerra | FG+SG
© Fernando Guerra | FG+SG

” Without water, sanitation and among precarious constructions. These are the living conditions of nearly 500 people – about 100 children – who inhabit an illegal neighborhood in Costa da Caparica. Designated Terras da Costa, this neighborhood is mostly occupied by two communities: of African and Romani origin.”

“Through a participatory process, the people decided that the construction of a community kitchen would be a priority for the improvement of their living conditions. A space that could be shared by all and managed by the dwellers. A place that could offer the basic conditions for living and cooking collectively, with some water and fire extinguishing points.”

© Fernando Guerra | FG+SG
© Fernando Guerra | FG+SG
© Fernando Guerra | FG+SG
© Fernando Guerra | FG+SG

Renacer de Chamanga Community House / Actuemos Ecuador

© KliwadenkoNovas
© KliwadenkoNovas

“The project consists of developing a community center for Chamanga, an area affected by an earthquake. The area was used to house 30 families with a total of 170 people. This shelter was well organized, but its only need was to have a communal space that hosts several collective activities.”

“The project consists of the design of a Community Center for Chamanga through design and construction participatory processes. Community workshops were developed in order to understand and prioritize people’s needs; these activities served as a base for the design.”

“Hardwood panels and recycled furniture from other constructions were used to make the kitchen furniture, warehouses and storage.”

© KliwadenkoNovas
© KliwadenkoNovas
© KliwadenkoNovas
© KliwadenkoNovas

Migrant Living / Nomadic Domesticities

 The MA Interior Design graduates from the University of East London (2019-2020), led by their programme leaders, Miss Claudia Palma Romao and Dr Anastasia Karandinou, designed exciting community kitchen projects for Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers (SDCAS). They have developed eight designs of portable community kitchens which are mobile/transportable and could adapt to different situations. They provide a multifunctional space that could be used to hold workshops, classes and talks in addition to their primary function to serve food. They also pack down to be moved out of the church into a Luton van for use elsewhere. They could perhaps also be used as a pilot programme for other organisations with similar needs.

8-GON / Tatiana Garcia Bacca

“To be transportable, it had to be able to pass through the main church door, so, the open-kitchen dimensions had to be limited to the door size, and a specific allocation in the main church hall. My design idea came from the art of paper folding, origami, specifically the transforming ninja star form, its different configurations was the idea that led me to the thinking of the shape and different transformations for my original kitchen.”

Cortesía de Soup International
Cortesía de Soup International
Cortesía de Soup International
Cortesía de Soup International

Cellule Kitchen / Aysha Farhana

“To engender a sense of neutralization in the process of belonging, in a new place, it was required to design an open kitchen, a space for sharing, collaboration and interaction. The open kitchen will act as a social space for multicultural people in transit.”

Cortesía de Soup International
Cortesía de Soup International

Ciborium Kitchen / Himani Harikrishna Ravuri

“Wondering what a kitchen is? To me, a kitchen is the heart of any home, it is a place for gatherings, a place where people feel nurtured, healed, and comforted. Many traditions treat the kitchen as a sacred place. The principal strategy of The Ciborium Kitchen is to be a sacred space as itself that further creates interaction and multifunctional space for asylum seekers to allow social interaction. This stand-alone kitchen inspired by The Relaunch of the Fashion Space Gallery is designed and defined to be performative, movable, and flexible. This design proposal has 4 different components: The Cooking Unit, The Clay Tandoor, Serving Unit and Seating”

Cortesía de Soup International
Cortesía de Soup International

Don’t Play with Your Food / Beth Hooper

“This kitchen is all about play and freedom from rules: an adult construction kit with infinite configurations to cook, eat and have fun. Through my research into the experiences of Asylum seekers and the process that people must go through to achieve refugee status in the UK, I discovered that a major problem for people and their mental well-being is the loss of control that they have over daily decisions including the simplest things such as deciding what to cook.”

Cortesía de Soup International
Cortesía de Soup International

Eco-Kitchen / Ed Chelsea Rimando

“The proposal Eco- Kitchen is an open kitchen that allows flexibility. The application of both sustainability and compact are also considered to address not just the current issue but also for ecological approach.”

Cortesía de Soup International
Cortesía de Soup International
Cortesía de Soup International
Cortesía de Soup International

Foldable Kitchen / Ayca M Aydin

“After analysing the needs critically, a foldable and flexible solution was developed to allow many different arrangement possibilities to help ensure the design meets users’ needs as well as encourages them to participate.”

Cortesía de Soup International
Cortesía de Soup International
Cortesía de Soup International
Cortesía de Soup International

Memories Decorator / Yuan Shiqi

“As an international student, renting a flat is an annual task. When I decorated the flat with the photos and souvenirs I collected, I started to feel a sense of belongings. The concept of my design is to provide a sense of belonging for the people who are leaving their home country and come to the UK. So, I wanted to offer the opportunity for people to paint on the plates or put up their photos that relate to memories.”

Cortesía de Soup International
Cortesía de Soup International

Shift. Halt. Eat / Senuri Peththawadu

“Four separate units are created for the following purposes. Cooking and preparation, Serving, Eating. Once the users have finished the session, it can be folded and placed aside with the help of the castor wheels attached to the bottom of the unit. This can also be transferred outdoors as well if required.”

Cortesía de Soup International
Cortesía de Soup International