Odkryta 55

The block at 55 Odkrytej Street is a joke? A few words about the capital’s narrow buildings

In Warsaw’s Bialoleka district at Odkryta 55 there is a building that looks like an architectural joke. What is the secret behind the property that has been causing a furore on social media for years? Is it really the narrowest building in the capital?

The building amazes with its unconventional shape, which has made it very popular. Internet users are outdoing each other with jokes and theories about it. At first glance, the building looks like an incredible architectural phenomenon. However, all the pictures causing a stir are taken from one perspective, from the side of Odkryta Street

55 Odkryta St. Source: Google Maps

Odkryta 55

We can only see a fragment of the building, its diagonal wall, where the balconies are located. Behind it hides the rest of the building, which has been bevelled at this point and continues in a straight line. In fact, it is a sizable seven-storey apartment block. The stairwells are quite spacious and there is a two-door lift to the sixth floor. The famous photos are therefore the result of an illusion and the right camera setting, and the block at Odkryta 55 is not the narrowest building in Warsaw

The block seen from the side. Source: may/fotopolska.eu – Licence: CC-BY-SA 3.0

Odkryta 55

Other narrow buildings in the capital are worth mentioning here by the way. The tenement in the corner of Kanonia in the Old Town is definitely one of them. The front of the building on the street side is only 2 m wide, but the monument is wedge-shaped and extends towards the Vistula, where it has a rear façade of standard dimensions

The façade of the Kanonia 18 tenement house. photo by Cybularny, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Odkryta 55

The back of the Kanonia 18 tenement house. photo Tilman2007, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Odkryta 55

The second interesting building that can make you feel claustrophobic is the Keret House – an art installation designed by architect Jakub Szczęsny, built in 2012 near the intersection of Chłodna and Żelazna streets. It is located in a 152-centimetre gap between a post-war apartment block and a pre-war building. The installation has three levels inside and is designed as a residential building. The Keret House is described as one of the narrowest in the world, but formally it is not a residential building. It does not meet Polish regulations for a dwelling, which makes it not a permanent structure, and among other things it is not possible to obtain registration

Keret’s house from Żelazna Street. Photo: Adrian Grycuk, CC BY-SA 3.0 PL, via Wikimedia Commons

Houses at 74 Żelazna Street (left) and 22 Chłodna Street (right), between which the Keret House is located. Photo by Adrian Grycuk, CC BY-SA 3.0 PL, via Wikimedia Commons

Interior. Photo by Adrian Grycuk, CC BY-SA 3.0 PL, via Wikimedia Commons

Odkryta 55

Source: warszawa.naszemiasto.pl, noizz.pl

Read also: Architecture | Urban planning | Monument | Block | Architecture in Poland | Warsaw

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