I came across Keret House via a link posted by a friend on facebook (thank you, Ela). An article in The New York Times reported on possibly the thinnest house in the world, only a stone’s throw from my office. I couldn’t wait to get down there to have a look and take some pictures.
Today was a very cold day in Warsaw. Yet, despite the cold, it was sunny, which meant crispy air and perfect light for taking pictures. My fingers were freezing, my eyes welled up with tears from the cold, but I didn’t care, being totally caught in the moment.
It is indeed a slice of a house (says The New York Times), measuring just 92 centimeters in its narrowest point. Standing in front of the entrance door, I tried to stretch my arms, to see if I could spread them like wings. I hope no one was watching, as I only did some kind of an awkward half-stretch.
Jakub Szczęsny, the architect of the house, fell in love in the space between two buildings from two different periods – a pre-war residential building and an 11-story post-war apartment block. Being a representative of a collective dedicated to experimental architecture, he decided to fill the gap. Not only did he fill the gap by squeezing in an impossibly narrow house, he also built a bridge between the past and the present. Israeli writer Etgar Keret was chosen by the architect to be the project’s ambassador and honorary resident, due to his Jewish heritage, Polish roots and his reputation for short stories.
I have a fear of enclosed spaces, so this is probably not a place for me. Though the house is in fact too small to be classified as residential by Polish law, it has been registered as an art installation, allowing artists from all over the world to visit for short stays. The international residency project is scheduled to run for four years, until 2016.
While taking pictures, I couldn’t help but notice there was light in the house. Maybe Etgar Keret was inside? After all, it’s his house. I was tempted to press the buzzer… Instead, I walked away, contemplating the incredible energy of this city, constantly changing and redefining itself. I love being part of it…