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Keret House: Jakub Szczesny's Narrow House
June 28, 2013 9:22 PM   Subscribe

"Polish architect Jakub Szczesny claims to have built the world's narrowest house, just 122 centimetres across at its widest point."
posted by The Deej (49 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
On the one hand: awesome. On the other hand, depending on the angle relative to the sun's path, this will either be a bright and cheery narrow space most of the day, or a dark and depressing space for all but a few hours of it.
posted by davejay at 9:32 PM on June 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not shown on the photo is the catapult you would have to use to enter the property via the window.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:35 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, do they supply medical insurance to cover the inevitable psychotic breaks from living in such a tiny space? How about legal insurance to cover the violent aftermath involving any nearby living creatures post-psychotic break?
posted by Samizdata at 9:43 PM on June 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Small house or large coffin?
posted by Anoplura at 9:45 PM on June 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


We use to dream of living in corridor!

Seriously though that is not a house that is a hallway with grand delusions.
posted by edgeways at 9:49 PM on June 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


Seriously though that is not a house that is a hallway with grand delusions.
posted by edgeways at 9:49 PM

Eponysterical.
posted by The Deej at 9:52 PM on June 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Better than a cardboard box.
posted by panaceanot at 9:53 PM on June 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


In the model image at the bottom, it looks like there's a little kitchenette, but I would have liked to have seen a photo of it. That may actually be the bathroom and there is no kitchen.

No kitchen kind of kills the ability to call it an actual dwelling unit as far as I'm concerned.
posted by LionIndex at 9:56 PM on June 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Actually, I love architecture like this, because it serves as an exquisite and unexpected reminder that we utilize the space in our own homes in a horribly inefficient way. Each time I see something along the lines of a "small" home, especially in an awkward space like this, I end up rethinking and reconfiguring some aspect of my home in a similar fashion. The net result is that my house feels like it is getting larger over time, no renovation required.
posted by davejay at 9:59 PM on June 28, 2013 [17 favorites]


Oh, and to his credit, he has at least done something that's quite difficult to do in cities these days: he's created new real estate out of thin (pun intended) air.
posted by davejay at 10:02 PM on June 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Please tell me that the street number for this address has a fraction or a decimal in it.
posted by ceribus peribus at 10:06 PM on June 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Also I have this mental image of a Roomba forlornly pacing back and forth on the little strip of hardwood floor.
posted by ceribus peribus at 10:11 PM on June 28, 2013 [31 favorites]


depending on the angle relative to the sun's path, this will either be a bright and cheery narrow space most of the day, or a dark and depressing space for all but a few hours of it.

On Google Maps it looks like it's oriented more or less on an east-west axis, so I'd guess relatively dark, although on the other hand the whole roof seems to be skylight.
posted by Umami Dearest at 10:12 PM on June 28, 2013


In the model image at the bottom, it looks like there's a little kitchenette, but I would have liked to have seen a photo of it. That may actually be the bathroom and there is no kitchen.

There seems to be a kitchenette and a toilet (scroll down for photos) with a tiny shower unit in the toilet (shown in the video).
posted by Umami Dearest at 10:22 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


This house reminded me of Lemmings.
posted by dhartung at 10:31 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


So it's a NYC Manhattan apartment?
posted by Splunge at 10:43 PM on June 28, 2013


No kitchen kind of kills the ability to call it an actual dwelling unit as far as I'm concerned.

Planner here - I often lament the planning regulations and building code restrictions that would prevent something like this from being built in most places (including our municipality). Regulation attempts to achieve safety and expectations of density and use at the expense of true creativity. On the other hand, if there's a fire you burn like a cockroach on a hotplate.

A big part of me would really love to live in a place like this for a while, both for the challenge and for the simplicity. I'd either achieve total consciousness or go stark raving mad. But, I lived in a 500 sq. ft. condo for a long time and didn't mind it one bit. This is slightly different, sure, but if I have a bed, a couch-like thing, cereal, coffee and a TV I'm good.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:56 PM on June 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


There seems to be a kitchenette and a toilet (scroll down for photos) with a tiny shower unit in the toilet (shown in the video).

Ah, yes. Thank you.

Planner here - I often lament the planning regulations and building code restrictions that would prevent something like this from being built in most places (including our municipality).

I was actually going by my local code, where putting kitchen stuff and a bathroom in an accessory structure = additional dwelling unit. Since the intention for this place is just as temporary housing for writers or whatever, you could get away with treating it like a one-room hotel or something (R-1 occupancy) and not have a kitchen, but I think any claim of creating the world's narrowest house/apartment falls apart.

But, I lived in a 500 sq. ft. condo for a long time and didn't mind it one bit.

Oh, yeah, I had a 350 s.f. studio for 5 years and loved it, and could have even shaved some space off it and done OK. One thing I've seen in tiny places like this is that they use fixtures meant for boats, which are basically specifically designed to be as compact as possible.
posted by LionIndex at 11:14 PM on June 28, 2013


I was actually going by my local code, where putting kitchen stuff and a bathroom in an accessory structure = additional dwelling unit.

Yes that's the same in most places. I thought the same thing - does it have a kitchen? The regulation that would prevent this is minimum room width, likely, and fire code issues (entry, exit).
posted by jimmythefish at 11:40 PM on June 28, 2013


Alternative title: Man invents architectural form of birth control.
posted by blueberry at 11:43 PM on June 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'd love to see the Estate Agent's description for this place.
posted by Decani at 12:02 AM on June 29, 2013


I'm pretty sure that this 4.5m wide house, also described as "so unique", is the same width as my apartment building, which has three apartments and a store on four floors. Houses this narrow, or narrower, are pretty standard in downtown Toronto.

1m is impressively narrow; 4m is just urban living.
posted by jb at 12:36 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know, if you put mirrors on opposite walls the space really does look a lot bigger.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:28 AM on June 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


I could live in a place like that were it not for the need to store my massive CD collection.

Maybe I could store them vertically.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:33 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've been mentally training myself to live in a place like that. However, it lacks two crucial aspects that my mental training presumed it would have/ do:

1) An arboreal view of the cosmos
2) An unreal, *moving* view of the cosmos

Basically, it needs to be a tree-house or a spaceship. Creative as it may be, this one fails on both counts.
posted by the cydonian at 2:12 AM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I kept reading "Keret House" as Ferret House (which would be the perfect pet for someone living there).
posted by HuronBob at 3:02 AM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Alternative title: Man invents architectural form of birth control.

Actually, since two people in there would have to occupy the same physical space, I'm thinking just the opposite. Especially since, with so little room, pulling out in a coitus interruptus move is pretty much impossible, you've upped the odds substantially.
posted by HuronBob at 3:06 AM on June 29, 2013


Just looking at the photos, I find it hard to breathe.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 4:08 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


~Alternative title: Man invents architectural form of birth control.

~Actually, since two people in there would have to occupy the same physical space, I'm thinking just the opposite. Especially since, with so little room, pulling out in a coitus interruptus move is pretty much impossible, you've upped the odds substantially.


I think the birth control part comes from getting a date to actually enter the home in the first place. It's a bit...dungeony...frankly, and there's absolutely no chance of escape.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:17 AM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why do you suppose they made it triangular? Was the fact that they were building it in a narrow alley not sufficiently challenging, so they thought 'hey, let's also make it a fucked up shape so we lose half the potential floor space?'
posted by jacquilynne at 6:42 AM on June 29, 2013


1m is impressively narrow; 4m is just urban living.
Indeed. My 100-year-old rowhouse in DC is 3.5 meters wide, and it's not considered unusual.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:04 AM on June 29, 2013


As a Torontonian, I must wave and point out the Tiny House.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:09 AM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why do you suppose they made it triangular?

skylights. no other window option is available.
posted by mdn at 8:09 AM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I just saw in this video in Portuguese that the house doesn't follow the Polish code, so it's classified as an art installation. I find it cool that it works as residency for artists, I bet living like this for a little while can trigger some sort of creativity. And I love Etgar Keret!
posted by TheGoodBlood at 8:25 AM on June 29, 2013


Do they have someone come in every day while the inhabitant is out and scoot the walls another .5 cm closer to each other?
posted by indubitable at 8:30 AM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


This was featured on an episode of HGTV's Extreme Homes. it may be available via iTunes, Hulu, or other online video providers.
posted by The Deej at 8:36 AM on June 29, 2013


I could live in a place like that were it not for the need to store my massive CD collection.

I don't think this is a house for people with collections.
posted by Foosnark at 8:47 AM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


NONONO! I get claustrophobia and start to hyperventilate just looking at the pictures.

something something swing a cat. Not that I do much cat swinging, but sheesh.

I don't think this is a house for people with collections.
In this place, two drinking glasses or a pair of shoes would constitute a collection.

Seriously though that is not a house that is a hallway with grand delusions.
posted by edgeways


LOL :) I do believe my hallway is wider.
posted by BlueHorse at 9:57 AM on June 29, 2013


I was just in Warsaw and stayed around the corner from this place, and I had no idea it was there. However, it seems a little odd to build such a high density housing unit in a city that doesn't seem particularly dense.
posted by fremen at 10:50 AM on June 29, 2013


>Why do you suppose they made it triangular?

For the sky light. Every room inside is illuminated by a slit of overhead sky that shows between the two buildings. In that narrow a space, light that is that bright is too precious to waste.

Notice that there are no hard shadows in the interior.
posted by the Real Dan at 11:21 AM on June 29, 2013


This post is kinda thin.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:30 PM on June 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


I lived in a 500 sq. ft. condo for a long time and didn't mind it one bit.

Heh. We live in a 530 sq. ft. condo with two kids. It's nothing out of the ordinary in the city which lost about 85% of its buildings during the war.

But the Keret House is an art project.
posted by hat_eater at 1:27 PM on June 29, 2013


I'm not claustrophobic at tall but I think after a few days I'd start having nightmares about the Death Star trash compactor.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:51 PM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I tend to pass out when I feel really claustrophobic. On the plus, in this house, if I angled it right, I might be able to lose consciousness without actually falling down. On the minus, just looking at the pictures* make me feel light-headed.

*I can live in small places, but not without plenty of sunlight and lots of fresh air.
posted by thivaia at 3:47 PM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ontario Building Code Section 3.3.1.11.(1).(a): "a door that opens into a corridor or other facility providing access to exit from a suite, or a room not located within a suite, shall swing on a vertical axis"

Polish building codes are apparently less concerned that in a fire, lifting that big heavy trap door to the stairs will not seem like such a great idea.
posted by Popular Ethics at 9:36 PM on June 29, 2013


It's technically just an art exhibit; not sure if it would pass the local building code.
posted by ceribus peribus at 10:45 PM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Actually, I love architecture like this, because it serves as an exquisite and unexpected reminder that we utilize the space in our own homes in a horribly inefficient way.

Kevin?
Is that you?
Don't you have some Grand Designs to make?
posted by Mezentian at 7:35 AM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Polish building codes are apparently less concerned that in a fire, lifting that big heavy trap door to the stairs will not seem like such a great idea.

Polish building code say to fire escape must be a door*. Not say a trap. So Keret House not really a house. Is art project.

*§ 236.3: Wyjścia z pomieszczeń na drogi ewakuacyjne powinny być zamykane drzwiami. (The exits to the escape routes must be closed with doors.) The Polish Standard specifies that doors are installed in vertical openings in walls.
posted by hat_eater at 9:26 AM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why do you suppose they made it triangular?

I suppose they may have also had to work around windows or vents in the adjoining buildings.
posted by Gotanda at 3:33 PM on June 30, 2013


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