Last month here at Toolmonger we ran across Jakub Szczesny’s Keret House design for the world’s skinniest house. Coming in at roughly 156 square feet, the entire house literally will fill the empty space between two city buildings in Warsaw, Poland. Nevermind that there is no space for tool storage — it hardly seems like there’s much space for anything. Despite its small size, the design can account for most daily living requirements just as a RV vehicle or boat would. Still, no matter how wonderfully efficient the design, is there such a thing as too small for a house?
The Keret House has characteristics drawn from camping trailers and tree forts with a hint of spaceship on the side. The Millennium Falcon-type retractable stairs double as the living room floor and comprise roughly 1/5th of the home’s square footage. Through an engineer’s perspective the design is efficient and sleek. Much like a Ferrari, it looks incredibly fun to climb into, but also like the Ferrari, how practical is it?
The ladder up to the bedroom demands the occupant maintain a certain level of agility, and the area around the bathroom and kitchenette will receive limited sunlight through the home’s inadequate windows. There appears to be no secondary emergency exit. Mounting a 50-inch HDTV anywhere to watch Top Gear looks to be all but impossible. Clothing storage looks to be a major issue, not to mention having to cart laundry up and down the ladder. The home does not meet several local building codes and is being built and permitted as an art installation instead. It’s difficult to imagine more than one person living in the dwelling at a time.
Still, there could be dozens of uses for such a place. The Keret House design would make a great city apartment for a commuting business person. The design could be marketed to colleges for dorms. FEMA could have hundreds of these on hand to truck in after a flood, hurricane, or tornado disaster without making the area look like a vagrant campground. And construction companies could use the design as site offices in tight city locations.
The design might have many uses, but for now its single use will be as a home and a writer’s retreat. Will it serve its purpose? Probably. Is it an incredibly engineered use of space? Arguably, yes. Does it look neat? Again, yes. But is it too small to be practical? We look forward to your comments.