Sandwiched between two unassuming buildings on a busy Warsaw street, you could be forgiven for missing the Keret House when walking past. From the pavement there is not much to suggest that the sliver of metal between apartment blocks is actually the world’s narrowest house. But look closer and what reveals itself is part art project, part social commentary and part personal history.
Like so many things in Warsaw, the house’s location reflects the history of the city. One neighbouring building is one of the few remnants of pre-war Warsaw, while the other is a typical example of the functional social housing the came to define Warsaw in the post war communist era. One of the aims of the project is to highlight the unique juxtaposition of old and new across the build fabric of the city.
The location itself is on the site where the large and small Jewish Ghettos met during the war, the bridge connecting the two was located nearby. This fact is not lost on the House’s sole resident, Israeli writer Etgar Keret, whose parent’s families died in the Second World War.
From the outside the house looks impossibly thin. Measuring just 92cm at it’s narrowest point, and only 122cm at it’s widest, the house consists of two floors which are reached by a ladder and retractable stairs that form the entrance. Squeezed inside is a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living area – although the fridge is only large enough for two beers.
The roof panels are translucent, letting large amounts of light in, and there are two windows. Electricity is supplied from a neighbouring building, and as the building does not meet the City Building Regulations, the whole structure is officially classified as an “art installation” to keep the planning department happy.
You can see the outside of the Keret House between 22 Chłodna Street and 74 Żelazna Street.
Have you been to the Keret House? Is it more spacious inside than you would think? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.