Passersby often overlook the Keret House, although it is an architectural attraction. In the Warsaw district of Wola, so in the former Warsaw Ghetto, a grey translucent wall of a building nestles in the gap between a pre-war building and an eleven- oor high rise from the post-war period.
Anyone who is interested in taking a closer look has to go around the block, as the entrance is in the courtyard. The architect Jakub Szczesny, who is a member of the experimental Warsaw designer group Centrala, wanted to create a connection between two buildings that refer to two different city eras. He thought the ideal inhabitant would be the Israeli writer Etgar Keret, whose striking short stories he admired. Keret agreed, accompanied the process and is now the house’s name giver.
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Minimal architecture squared
The Keret House is too small to be considered an apartment building. So it is of cially an art installation, owned by the Foundation of Polish Art, which also manages the house and makes it available to artists from around the world for a limited period of time. At its narrowest point the Keret House measures only 92 cm, which makes it the narrowest house in Warsaw and perhaps even the narrowest house in the world.
For this important point in the apartment, at which a reading was given by Etgar Keret at the opening, Jakub Szczesny wanted a light which radiates an aura – which has that special something and is able to inspire associations.
The reaction was a surprise, but also something we desper- ately needed, since we’ve had to fundraise 70 percent of it’s cost with private sector, so we’ve had an obligation to prove it’s visibility in terms of marketing. It helped us a lot and made it possible to be built!
Who uses the building?
Artists, since with Etgar, Polish Modern Art Foundation and the help of City of Warsaw we’ve turned it into an artist in residency in which for now, 9 artists lived and worked since November 2013. They were selected from 982 applications.
How have the residents received the project so far? The inhabitants to date also included an Iranian architect couple, who literally squeezed into the house. We’ve proposed another space for sleeping, so those who’d feel tired of the »trash crusher from Star Wars« would feel more comfortable, but artists stayed in the house most of the time. We were lucky enough to choose only people who were really into living in this minimum habitat! We’re collecting their remarks and we will publish a book next year about their life and work in the house.
Keret House, Warsaw
Year of realization: 2012 Client: Foundation of Polish Art Architecture and lighting design: Jakub Szczesny Area: 14,5 m² Photography: Andreas Meichsner, Berlin Bartek Warzecha, Warschau