Mastering the Art of the Kitchen Sink

Designing for diversity, functionality, and multiple generations
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Sponsored by BLANCO
By Amanda C Voss, MPP

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify what materials are available for sinks today and discuss the comparative aesthetic, strength, and durability attributes of these materials.
  2. Describe how to specify an easy-to maintain, hygienic sink and its details that meet the design scheme and user group needs.
  3. Explain how to specify a sink that meets ADA and what design requirements to be aware of under ADA compliance.
  4. Recognize new trends in kitchen sinks and how these can be best utilized for your clients and design plan.


AAA 1 Structured Learning Hour
This course can be self-reported to the AANB, as per their CE Guidelines
AAPEI 1 Structured Learning Hour
MAA 1 Structured Learning Hour
This course can be self-reported to the NLAA.
This course can be self-reported to the NSAA
NWTAA 1 Structured Learning Hour
OAA 1 Learning Hour
SAA 1 Hour of Core Learning
This course can be self-reported to the AIBC, as per their CE Guidelines.
This course is approved as a Structured Course
This course can be self-reported to the AANB, as per their CE Guidelines
Approved for structured learning
Approved for Core Learning
This course can be self-reported to the NLAA
Course may qualify for Learning Hours with NWTAA
Course eligible for OAA Learning Hours
This course is approved as a core course
This course can be self-reported for Learning Units to the Architectural Institute of British Columbia
This test is no longer available for credit

“The more you know, the more you can create. There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen.” —Julia Child

The kitchen is heralded as the heart of the home, and, in this role, it is the center for family, food, and entertainment. It is also the hardest working room in the home—required to be stylish, aesthetically pleasing, functional, durable, and hygienic.

Mastering the Art of the Kitchen Sink image

All images courtesy of BLANCO

Today’s kitchens face additional demands from diverse user groups. Kitchens may be placed in a universal design, requiring accommodation of users aged infant through to the elderly; serving multiple duties in a tiny home; or simply trying to keep up with a young and growing family. As home designs increasingly remove walls in favor of open plans, kitchens are integrating fully with living space, transforming them into living kitchens.

At the center of this busy kitchen space is the sink. Since a significant part of the work in a kitchen happens at the sink, having one that is easy to use and properly designed is extremely important. To have a beautiful, usable kitchen sink, there are several design parameters helpful in guiding sink selection. First among these is to ask how the kitchen is going to be used. That is followed by consideration of how the various flows and different work areas are going to be integrated throughout the kitchen. Finally, the designer and architect must address the question of who will be using the kitchen. Asking about “who” means thinking about “how”—how can the kitchen best enable productivity, safety, and the welfare of its users?

“As far as specifying sinks, there are a few things we look for,” says Alex Duran, project architect, Godden Sudik Architects. “These are material, configuration, and setting.” The sink is the most important workplace in the kitchen. Sixty percent of time spent in the kitchen is spent at the sink. Sinks allow for food preparation, washing, and cutting, and the best sink design should make these tasks as efficient as possible.

Paying attention to the unique combination of client needs and required functionality will guide the selection of the best size, material, and style of kitchen sink.


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Originally published in Architectural Record
Originally published in May 2018