The Cornell Kitchen (1950–55) was produced at Cornell University by a multidisciplinary team with expertise in home economics, engineering, architecture, and psychology. It promised to deliver rational design, functional principles, aesthetic appeal, and emotional satisfaction in one prefabricated, easy-to-install package. This article sets out the kitchen’s history from its design to its field-testing phase to its impact on postwar kitchens. It argues that the kitchen represents an important effort to approach housing in a more scientific way; scientific methods were deployed to understand both the physical and socio-psychological problems of dwelling. The project also sought to introduce a specific model for leveraging housing research into the real world, partnering with industry to mass produce scientific designs. Social scientific methods were hence used to create not only more livable but also more saleable products in an effort to appeal to manufacturers and consumers alike.


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pp. 48-94
Launched on MUSE
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