Is there a need for new kitchen design? Assessing the adaptative capacity of space to enable circularity in multiresidential buildings
Journal article, 2022

This paper aims to contribute to the development of spatial criteria for adaptive capacity, which is identified as one important factor for the transition towards more circular housing design. The paper focuses on the kitchen, as an important function of the home which is connected to large resource flows and is exposed to frequent renovations and replacements. This paper identifies spatial characteristics of the kitchen and evaluates their potential to accommodate circular solutions focusing on adaptive capacity. As a first step, previous literature on the spatial characteristics of kitchens and indicators that support adaptability is reviewed. These are then used to develop an analytical framework to assess the adaptive capacity and circularity potential of 3624 kitchens in contemporary Swedish apartments. A qualitative approach in combination with quantitative methods is employed to analyse the selected sample. The main contributions of this paper include its spatial analytical framework, its descriptive presentation of contemporary kitchen and apartment designs, and its adaptive capacity assessment of the studied kitchens. The results point out that although the over-capacity of the floor area of kitchens and apartments can have significance for adaptability, it is not the only determinative spatial characteristics. The windows' location and distribution, the number of door openings and traffic zones, the shafts’ location and accessibility from multiple rooms, the room typology and the kitchen typology can improve the adaptive capacity and circularity potential of kitchens and dwellings. The findings show that in contemporary floorplans advantageous design solutions connected to the identified spatial characteristics are not applied in a systematic way. Further research is necessary to define the exact measures of the individual spatial characteristics and their combined application in multiresidential floorplan design.

Adaptive capacity

Circular design


Spatial criteria

Kitchen design

Apartment floorplans


Anita Ollár

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Architectural theory and methods

Kaj Granath

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Building Design

Paula Femenias

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Building Design

Ulrike Rahe

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Architectural theory and methods

Frontiers of Architectural Research

2095-2635 (eISSN)

The VGR circular kitchen demonstrator (CIK)

HSB Living Lab, 2022-01-01 -- 2022-12-31.

Region Västra Götaland (MN 2021-00049), 2021-06-01 -- 2023-12-31.

The circular kitchen

Climate-KIC, 2018-01-01 -- 2021-12-31.

HSB Living Lab (457-HSB), 2018-01-01 -- 2021-12-31.

Subject Categories

Architectural Engineering


Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)


HSB living lab



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5/1/2022 5