Sam Kee Building
The Sam Kee Building is located at 8 West Pender Street in Vancouver, British Columbia, and is noteworthy for being the narrowest commercial building in the world. At the turn of the 20th century, the Sam Kee Company was one of the wealthiest firms in Chinatown. It bought this land as a standard-sized lot in 1903, but the city widened Pender Street in 1912 and expropriated 24 feet (7.3 m) of the lot. In 1913, the architects Brown and Gillam designed this narrow, steel-framed building, only 4'11" (1.5 m) at its ground-floor base and 6 feet (183 cm) at the second-story bay windows. The basement extends under the sidewalk and originally housed public baths, while the ground floor was used for offices and shops and the top story for living quarters. Rehabilitation of the building for Jack Chow was designed by Soren Rasmussen Architect and completed in 1986. The building is considered the thinnest commercial building in the world by the Guinness Book of Records and Ripley's Believe it or Not!, but in recent years, this status has been challenged by the Skinny Building in Pittsburgh, which measures only 5'2" (157 cm) in width. The dispute centres around the fact that while the Sam Kee Building is 4'11" at the base, it grows to 6' wide on the second floor while Pittsburgh's Skinny Building maintains the same 5'2" width on all floors. However, a stainless-steel 1935 building built by William G. Singer at 15th Street at South Penn Square in Philadelphia measures 4' by 75', with walls one-sixteenth of an inch thick.

Building Activity

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