Alleyway Abode: 4-Foot-Narrow Live/Work Writer’s Studio


It looks somewhat like a squished spaceship, squeezed into a space that (at its skinniest) is a mere 2 feet and 4 inches wide. And yes, it is both intended to be built and planned to be lived in full time.

Stuffed inside a side street once packed with trash and graffiti, this Warsaw dwelling by Centrala is composed of plywood panels on a steel frame with foam insulation along the front, top and back of the building.

Neither side needs (nor can afford the space for) much insulating, given that both sides touch existing adjacent buildings. The exterior will be draped in white-painted concrete cloth, both blending into the surroundings (in terms of color) while standing out from them (in terms of material, texture, scale and smoothness).

Water and sewage systems are semi-off-the-grid, operating more like a boat or mobile home than a normal full-time residence. A remote-control stairway extends downward to accommodate entries and exists without displacing interior or outdoor space otherwise.

As for building code compliance: this structure bucks (or circumvents) the system, designated an art installation rather than a residence. It is, after all, being designed to be used as semi-permanent guest accommodations for visiting writers – a live-work studio that may be cramped, but is also quite inspiring.

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