Considering the overcrowding of so many cities and the cost of a parcel of land in these urban locales, people and the designers they hire have become quite inventive when choosing where and how to build. While there are a bevy of images on the web of historic skinny houses, the newer constructions, having more contemporary design and material advantages, are pushing the boundaries of these living spaces.
Japanese design firm Ondesign were given the challenge of building a home on a parcel of land that measures ~ 300 sq. ft. in Bunkyo-ku, a densely populated section of Tokyo, one of the world’s most famously overcrowded cities. Tokyo’s land area, excluding the islands, measures about 90 km (56 mi) east to west and 25 km (16 mi) north to south. Within that area are approximately 12.9 million residents, which swells to 15 million people during working hours. So yes, Tokyo is very densely populated. Ondesign essentially found an alley where they could build a new residence.
Lead architect Osamu Nishida, along with partner Naoko Mangyoku lead the project. You can see the construction of the residence on their blog (all in Japanese, except the photos). Though the space is narrow, they created a functional and attractive contemporary home. Despite the positioning between buildings, their use of natual light creates a warmth inside.
Another building currently under construction aims to earn the distinction as the skinniest building in Warsaw (I’m guessing probably all of Poland). The structure is being built by Jakub Szczęsny of Centrala Designers’ Task Force designed an installation titled Etgar Keret’s House, The interior will be 133 centimeters in the widest spot. The house, intended to serve as a studio for Israeli writer Etgar Keret, will serve as both a refuge for Keret and a studio where artists and intellectuals share ideas.
The building is currently under construction, scheduled to be completed by mid-October 2012 (if you’ve worked on a construction project you know, completion dates are very fuzzy). I can imagine living in a space like this as a single individual but trying to skooch around a house mate makes me feel claustrophobic just thinking about it. See more construction and interior photographs at the source links and various other links in this post.