9 of the World's Thinnest Buildings

Parent and child outside of an apartment building
Photo: DRosenbach [CC by SA-3.0]/Wikimedia Commons

Some of the thinnest homes in the world are impossibly skinny — a person holding their arms out to the side could touch both walls! It's not such a big deal for a small, single-story shed to be a few feet wide, but it's a different situation when a three- or four-story apartment building is that wide. Some skinny buildings were built as "spite houses," built by people upset about injustices visited upon them by neighbors, city councils or even family members. Other skinny buildings were built to settle a bet. The Long Beach skinny house in California (pictured) was assembled in 1932 by a man who wanted to win a bet that he couldn't build a house on a 10-foot by 50-foot lot. Whatever the reason for their construction, skinny buildings are simply fun. We've scoured the Web high and low to find some of the coolest, thinnest buildings on the block for your enjoyment.

1
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75 1/2 Bedford Street, N.Y.

lumierefl/flickr.

The apartment at 75 1/2 Bedford St. is just 8-feet, 6-inches wide on the inside and is as narrow as 2 feet wide in places. It is notable for its size and its history. It is thought to have been built in the late 1800s and was used as a cobbler's shop, candy factory and art studio. Writer Edna St. Vincent Millay later lived in the home and worked on the top floor, which she converted to a studio.

2
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Singel 166, Amsterdam

Merlin_/flickr.

This skinny home at Singel 166 in Amsterdam overlooks a canal and gets a lot of attention from passing tour guides. It is just a little more than 3 feet wide and is the skinniest building in Amsterdam.

3
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The Wedge, Great Cumbrae, Scotland

Hello, I am Bruce/flickr.

The entrance to the Wedge in Millport, Great Cumbrae, Scotland, is barely larger than the door. The skinny building is 47 inches across at the front and flares out (hence the name The Wedge) to 11 feet wide.

4
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Lucky Drops, Tokyo, Japan

Atelier TEKUTO.

The Lucky Drops house is reminiscent of the trailing edge of a giant airplane wing turned on its side. The house was designed by architect Yasuhiro Yamashita, a noted authority in the Japanese ultra-small world. The three-story, 10-foot-wide home has thin flexible walls that beautifully diffuse the natural light.

5
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The Hotel Formule 1, Auckland, New Zealand

DiGiSLR/flickr.

The Hotel Forumle1 Auckland is one of the skinniest tall apartment buildings around at 197 feet tall and less than 20 feet wide. It is built with 144 small studio apartments that are rented out to people in need of short stay accommodations.

6
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La Casa Estrecha, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

bjornman/flickr.

La Casca Estrecha in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, is 5 feet wide on the inside and has two stories that stretch back 36 feet. It was once a home but is undergoing renovations to be transformed into an art gallery.

7
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Skinny Building, Pittsburgh, Pa.

walkthetown/flickr.

Pittsburgh's Skinny Building was built on a plot of land just 6 feet wide. The plot fronted what is now Forbes Street and was created after the city seized some, but not all, of the street-facing plots to widen the throughway. Most of the leftover plots were sold to the city. The lot now holding the Skinny Building was not sold, opening the way for the construction of this wonderful little building.

8
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Sam Kee Building, Vancouver, Canada

Ray_from_LA/flickr.

The Sam Kee Building in Vancouver is like the Pittsburgh Skinny House in that it might be better to describe it as a shallow building. It was also created after the city annexed part of a street-fronting plot, leaving a wide, but shallow piece that was later developed into a block-wide building that is just 4 feet 11 inches deep.

9
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Skinny House, Boston, Mass.

stephanie says/flickr.

Boston's Skinny House, found at 44 Hull Street, is a four-story, 10-foot-wide house that is the undisputed narrowest house in Boston (a town already known for its skinny roads and architecture). Legend has it that the house was built by a Civil War solider who came home to find that the plot of land he and his brother had inherited already had a home on it (built by his brother who stayed home during the war). The jilted brother built a narrow home on the remaining land to ruin the view and light from the larger home built inches away.