Israeli Author Etgar Keret to Attend Warsaw Opening of Unique Building Named for Him

Roman Frister
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Roman Frister

An unusual building, named for and inspired by Israeli author Etgar Keret, is under construction in central Warsaw and will be officially inaugurated in October.

"Keret House" is no ordinary building. Squeezed into a 133-centimeter-wide aperture between two multi-storey buildings in the city's former Jewish quarter, the structure will house a single apartment, with one small room on each story of the building.

Accessed only via a narrow folding stairwell, the unusual apartment will be equipped with all of the usual domestic accessories, including a study, bedroom, library, kitchenette, bathtub and toilet.

It was conceived by well-known architect Jakub Szczesny as a residence for a writer who seeks to isolate himself in the narrow space in order to conceive creative works.

Szczesny, 38, studied in Warsaw, Paris and Barcelona, and has been awarded numerous international prizes for his unconventional ideas.

Asked why he chose Etgar Keret as the official occupant of the house, Szczesny said, "His mother was born in the neighborhood and he himself – a creative and colorful character – symbolizes, in my opinion, the link between Polish and Jewish culture. I see him as a person for whom crazy ideas like this are close to his heart, and I am happy that he gave his blessing to the project and even promised to try to influence his literary friends to spend time living in the narrowest building in the world.”

Keret has promised to come to Poland to attend the building’s dedication.

The building will be constructed around a steel skeleton and feature a glass roof. It is being put together in its entirety at an industrial plant outside Warsaw, and upon completion will be wedged into the intended spot.

The city of Warsaw’s culture division was among the donors that made the project possible.

Israeli author Etgar Keret.Credit: Tali Shani
A model of the buiding, which will be wedged between two existing high-rises. Credit: Jakub Szczesny
A model of 'Keret House.' Credit: Jakub Szczesny