A house built in an extremely narrow vacant space between two existing buildings measures a mere 127 centimetres at its widest interior point and only 76 centimetres at its narrowest.
Designed by Polish architect Jakub Szczesny, the house has two levels connected by a ladder and features a small kitchen, a bathroom with a shower and a dining space on the lower level, and a bedroom with a single bed and a desk on the upper level. Access to the living room area, which is elevated 2.70 metres from the street level, is granted through steep steel stairs and a trapdoor in the floor.
The project, which has been labelled Keret House by its owner, the Israeli writer Etgar Keret, has been considered an art installation rather than a house because of its extremely narrow dimensions. It has demonstrated, however, that it can function perfectly as an autonomous place in which one person can live and work.
Located in Wola in the heart of Warsaw, the building takes form of an insert between two existing buildings which represent different periods in the city’s history. Given that the plot measures 92 centimetres at its narrowest point and 152 at its widest point, most would have considered the space to small to build a home upon. Keret House proves otherwise, bringing the concept of ‘living small’ to a new extreme.
To avoid the claustrophobic effect of a narrow space, the steel structure and side panels were painted white and a large polycarbonate roof permits indirect light, while two opposed windows allow natural cross-ventilation. Between the light colours and the natural light, the interior width appears greater than in actually is.
The project is expected to stimulate the district’s art scene and to serve as a curiosity for locals and tourists.
“Intellectuals invited by Etgar Keret will frequently visit the space, not to mention that for the international media the project may become a symbol of the new, contemporary Warsaw – a city that interprets its heritage unconventionally and is open to non-standard art forms and ideas,” Szczesny said.
The project aims to create a program of art residencies for different artists, where they would be able to spend a couple of hours each day in the house, working and inviting people, for discussions, presentations and readings.
The idea of narrow residential units is gaining popularity among Japanese architects, particularly those working on narrow, post-agricultural plots, which are extraordinarily organized and use multifunctional furniture to maximize the interior space use.
The project known as Live Between Buildings, designed by Danish architects for the New Vision of Loft 2 Competition, was based on a similar concept, contributing to a denser, more sustainable city concept.