John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
At its widest point, the Keret House in Warsaw is little more than 4 feet across.
The cells at Florence ADX, the supermax prison in Colorado that holds notorious criminals like Soviet spy Robert Hanssen and al-Qaeda's Zacarias Moussaoui, are said to measure 7 by 12 feet. Someone in Poland, however, is building a house that makes those monklike dimensions look positively roomy.
Called the Keret House, this slimmest of domiciles is now being assembled in steel-skeleton form in a workshop just outside of Warsaw. When it's finished, movers will slide it into an alleyway between two large buildings at 22 Chłodna Street and 74 Żelazna Street. Looking like an aspirin tablet that got dropped between the couch cushions, the home will pose significant problems to anybody trying to fit through the door with bags of groceries: At its widest point, it measures just 4.4 feet across.
And at its narrowest point, the gap is a mere 28 inches wide. That makes this pad skinnier than the previous world record-holder for narrowest home, the 47-inch-wide "Wedge" in Scotland.
Why would anyone construct such a ridiculous place to live? According to Centrala, the architecture collective behind Warsaw's narrowest abode, the approximately 150-square-foot abode is less a functional home and more of an "art installation":
[The house] will be a workplace, a hermitage created for an outstanding Isreali writer, Etgar Keret. Besides, it will also fulfill a function of a studio for invited guests – young creators and intellectualists from all over the world. The residential program, conducted in the heart of Wola, is supposed to produce creative work conditions and become a significant platform for world intellectual exchange.
Even for the makers of a nuclear bike and a quizzical machine that recreates the experience of the harsh Polish winter of 1979, this concept is pretty weird. Thank lead designer Jakub Szczesny for making this project a reality; he seems to have the right mindset for it, given that he once built a floating island that purifies water via exercise machines. Centrala promises that the house will be ready for its first occupants sometime in mid-October.
The current state of the home:
All images courtesy of Centrala.