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The narrowest house in the world?

This 4-foot-wide workshop has eating, sleeping and working spaces in its 150 square feet.


Could you work, eat and sleep in a 48-inch-wide studio? This tiny Polish structure, wedged into a gap between two buildings, is 4 feet wide at its widest point.

The building serves as a workshop for Israeli writer Etgar Keret. Designed by architect Jakub Szczęsny of Centrala, it takes up about 150 square feet of once-unused space, filling the gap between buildings with a tiny kitchenette, dining area, bathroom, bedroom and desk.

Studio at a GlanceWho works here: Etgar KeretLocation: Warsaw, PolandSize: 150 square feet

Inspiration struck Szczęsny when he was walking down this street. The gap between a postwar co-op building and a prewar ex-Jewish tenement block immediately caught his eye. The two buildings begged for some kind of connection — and Szczęsny wanted to put something functional in between.

The structure blends in from the main street view. Access is hidden from the sidewalk by a 6½-foot-high wall.
Of course, this narrow space presented plenty of problems related to Warsaw's city building code, extending the construction time to about three years. Due to the building's size, location and function, the city decided to zone it as an art installation. Szczęsny finished the project in October 2012.

Visitors can access the building from an alley set away from the main street. Steel stairs drop down, revealing the entrance.
The gap between the two buildings is 60 inches at its widest and 28 inches at its narrowest. The triangular building structure allowed Szczęsny to make the most of the narrow and uneven gap.

Everything had to be kept to the basics. The structure is a steel cage standing on two tunnel-like foundations. The hollow foundations allow existing city heating pipes to pass underneath the building. The steel was covered with Kingspan insulated sandwich panels and filled with nanofoam for extra insulation and fire protection.

The front and rear facades are made of translucent 20-millimeter-thick (.8 inches) polycarbonate, with two functional windows for cross ventilation. Although the narrow space could've quickly become gloomy, the white side panels and polycarbonate facade allow for plenty of light.

The steep stairs, accessed through a trapdoor in the floor, open up into the main living area.
A small bathroom — about the same size as an airplane bathroom — has an open shower, a sink and a toilet.
The kitchenette has the basics: electric stove, sink, refrigerator and microwave. Water and heat come through one of the buildings next door.

A small built-in dining space past the kitchenette has seating space for two.

A ladder leads from the living area to the sleeping and working compartment. The 35-inch-wide mattress (a little smaller than a twin mattress) and a work desk get plenty of light from the translucent front facade.

"This is a space for one person to write and think away from people, but still be close enough to the world when necessary," says Szczęsny.


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