Kitchen as the Heart of Indonesian Houses: Re-Domestication During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Elita Nuraeny, Widya Laksmi Larasati, Khusnul Hanifati, Muhammad Iqbal, Kemas Ridwan Kurniawan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic had forced people to re-center their thoughts, ideas, and bodies at home; this includes their eating and cooking lifestyle. The activities once considered as common and social have become domestic. Working-class groups that used to have their lunch breaks at the offices, restaurants, or public spaces now have to have them at home—some on their own, others with their families. The constant need to have their meals at home has re-ignited the kitchen, or hearth, which was often unutilized, especially when all family members’ activities were outdoor-centric. The architectural and historical perspective towards Indonesian kitchens presents their design as ways to fit complex Indonesian cooking. When the government through the Department of Public Works in 1964 standardized public housing size, the kitchen became considerably smaller with minimal configuration. Kitchens used to be an eminent part of Indonesian houses and cuisines have become a mere service area. However, the pandemic has influenced the return of the ‘hearth’ as the meaning of kitchen in today’s houses in Indonesia. The event prompted a question on how accommodating are Indonesian kitchens to this re-domestication phenomenon. This paper investigates Indonesian kitchens through history and its reality today. We focused on houses particularly in Jakarta, and Java Island, in general, considering the city’s location. We took the government standards of subsidized housing as precedence to better visualize the architecture of residences commonly owned by working-class citizens which the subsidized housing were aiming for. The result presents how kitchens in Indonesian houses today face the challenge of accommodating a culture of complex cuisine within a limited space and home-bound pandemic lifestyle. An architectural design approach is also proposed as an option.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-38
Number of pages20
JournalISVS E-journal
Volume8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Keywords

  • hearth
  • house of today’s Jakarta
  • kitchens
  • re-domestication
  • the COVID-19 pandemic

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