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Lebanon’s thinnest building made to block brother’s sea view becomes one of Beirut’s most valuable

Lebanon’s skinniest building dubbed ‘The Grudge’ because it was installed by a spiteful brother to block his sibling’s sea view becomes one of Beirut’s most valuable properties

  • Bickering brother blocked seafront views in petty act of revenge
  • The slim building was constructed in 1954 in Beirut’s Manara neighbourhood 
  • Since its erection the property has also served as a brothel and housed refugees
  • The rare building is now among the capital’s most valued pieces of real estate 

A spiteful Lebanese man in the 1950s seeking to ruin his brother’s seafront view ended up building one of Beirut‘s most valuable properties. 

The brother is said to have purposely erected the country’s skinniest building – now known as ‘The Grudge’ – in 1954 following a dispute with his sibling over two plots of land they had inherited from their father. 

The bickering brothers disagreed on how to fairly split the land between them, and their frustrations only grew after part of their property was seized for municipal infrastructure projects. 

Beirut’s narrowest building  dates back to 1954, when -according to local folklore – it was constructed out of brotherly spite. Standing near the old lighthouse in Beirut, the property is just two feet wide at its narrowest and 14 feet at widest

The bickering brothers argued over a plot of land inherited by their father and fought over how to fairly split the land. As a result, one of them erected the narrowest building he could to block his brother's seafront views and devalue his property

The bickering brothers argued over a plot of land inherited by their father and fought over how to fairly split the land. As a result, one of them erected the narrowest building he could to block his brother’s seafront views and devalue his property

The disgruntled sibling therefore took it upon himself to devalue his brother’s property and block its seafront views by constructing a narrow building on a 120-sq-m piece of land.

The building is just 61cm (2ft) at its narrowest point and 4.2m (14ft) at its widest and is located in Beirut’s Manara neighbourhood.

Despite its small dimensions ‘The Grudge’ is perfectly habitable and includes rooms, a kitchen, windows and, of course, sweeping seafront views of the Mediterranean. 

Despite its dimensions the house is perfectly habitable, with plenty of windows, rooms leading into each other, a kitchen and views of The Mediterranean

Despite its dimensions the house is perfectly habitable, with plenty of windows, rooms leading into each other, a kitchen and views of The Mediterranean

The story is well-known among locals, who have dubbed the building 'The Grudge'. Over the years the building has served as a local brothel and also housed refugees during the Lebanese Civil War

The story is well-known among locals, who have dubbed the building ‘The Grudge’. Over the years the building has served as a local brothel and also housed refugees during the Lebanese Civil War

The narrow building now lies empty and uninhabited, and it is not known who the current owner is. In a bid to make the neighbourhood prettier, local land owners re-painted the building pink. 'The Grudge' is now one of Beirut's most valuable real estate properties

The narrow building now lies empty and uninhabited, and it is not known who the current owner is. In a bid to make the neighbourhood prettier, local land owners re-painted the building pink. ‘The Grudge’ is now one of Beirut’s most valuable real estate properties

The peculiar building is now among one of the most highly valued real estate properties in Lebanon. 

The building and the tale behind it is well-known among locals, who named it ‘Al-Ba`sa’.

The building was designed by Fawzi and Salah Itani, who were also brothers. 

The building was erected next to the lighthouse in Beirut's manara neighbourhood and was designed by a pair of brothers. Above, the building undergoes construction work in the 1950s

The building was erected next to the lighthouse in Beirut’s manara neighbourhood and was designed by a pair of brothers. Above, the building undergoes construction work in the 1950s

The spiteful sibling erected 'The Grudge' on Plot A on a mere 120-square-meter piece of land in order to block his brother's seafront views.

The spiteful sibling erected ‘The Grudge’ on Plot A on a mere 120-square-meter piece of land in order to block his brother’s seafront views. 

The world’s narrowest buildings 

‘The Grudge’ may well be world’s thinnest building, but where else could you find similarly slim structures? 

  • Keret House, Poland
  • Narrowest point: 92cm 
  • The Church of Saint Martin, Croatia 
  • Narrowest point: 1.64 metres 
  • Singel 166, The Netherlands 
  • Narrowest point: 1.8 metres 
  • Sam Kee Building, Canada
  • Narrowest point: 1.82 metres 

Since its construction ‘The Grudge’ has served many a purpose. 

As well as serving as a brothel during the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), it also hosted a number of refugees during the conflict.

In recent years the building has also been re-painted by owners of nearby land, who changed the facade’s colour from yellow to pink in hopes of beautifying the area. 

‘The Grudge’ also sparked interest in 2017, after a Tweet featuring a picture of the building went viral.  

The building is currently unoccupied and it is unknown who owns the property.

The building is expected to remain a fixture of the Manara coastline as it is protected from demolition as the plot of land is smaller than what is legally allowed to build on. 

The story behind the slim building came to light in 2014, after local architect and urban planner Sandra Rishani wrote about it for Jadaliyya.

It is unclear what became of the brother’s original neighbouring building, though it served as a German school when Rishani first investigated the story. 

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