The Work Triangle – Changing norms of Kitchen Design

In almost all kitchens the diversity of four sides is the main geometrical form. It varies from square devices to rectangular cabinetry. A triangle exactly (although it is unreal) has always been considered as an essential part of functionality and design in a kitchen.  

The term “work triangle”, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, means a direct line (an imaginary one) from the sink’s center to the one of the cooktop, to the middle of the refrigerator and again to the sink. The following directions are proposed for work triangles by the NKBA:

The Work Triangle - Changing norms of Kitchen Design

The 3 sides of the work triangle can not be more than 26 feet in total, the measure of each leg should be 4-9 feet.

An island or peninsula can not be cut more than twelve inches by the work triangle.

In case there is only one sink in the kitchen, one should put it between or across from the refrigerator, cooking surface, or the area for preparation.

The triangle can not be intersected by the main traffic patterns.

The basic aim of the triangle is efficiency. It helps to place all the main work stations close to the cook, but they are not kept too close – one can not name the kitchen tight. The design of the work triangle allows you to minimize traffic in the kitchen, too. You do not hamper or block the cook.

The Work Triangle - Changing norms of Kitchen Design

Further you can find several patterns of usual kitchen breadboards including the work triangle:

However, the triangle has its disadvantages. In the above breadboards you can see one of its flaws: it is suggested that there will only be 1 person cooking and 3 main work stations. The kitchens demand more than 3 workspaces, they are becoming larger, so the standard work triangle is sometimes impractical. Nowadays, many families share their cooking functions. Taking this into account, designers sometimes do not observe the rules of the triangle while making drafts of kitchen plans.

Linda Larisch, CKD, CBD, a designer working for Smartrooms, Chicago, explains: “The question of the usual standard work triangle is not denied, but when you design a kitchen making a triangle only because it should be there, is not always the best idea. In a great deal of kitchens we design, there is usually more than one triangle. In case it’s not possible to create the usual triangle, you are to make do by constructing  the kitchen that will be considered the most functional.

Keep in mind that your way of living ought to define your kitchen functionality and not vice versa. The work triangle is not obligatory, it is only an assumption. Even though it is considered to be helpful, you should also think outside the triangle while making design of your kitchen.

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