Man Built Lebanon's Thinnest Building To Ruin His Brother's Seafront Views

Salena Harshini |Mar 30, 2021

According to urban myth, a Lebanese man built a skinny building to block his brother's seafront view after inheriting a smaller portion of land.

According to an urban myth in Lebanon, a man turned sibling pettiness into a dedicating sport as he built a skinny building in front of his brother’s property. What were his intentions you may ask? They were simple: to block the brother’s sea view and deflate the property.

Moreover, his work is also considered the nation’s thinnest habitable. Its name is “The Grudge” in Arabic, locating in Beirut, Lebanon’s Manara neighborhood.

Lebanon Thinnest Building 1
Lebanon thinnest building was reportedly built for an act of petty revenge between two brothers.

As per architect Sandra Rishani who had paid a visit to the building before, it was constructed in 1954. After the owner reportedly lost a majority of his land plot due to road expansion, he wanted revenge on his sibling who received the more favorable land.

In detail, at the narrowest point, it is 61cm wide while at the widest, it is 4.2m. Media outlets over the world have picked up this unique story.

Lebanon Thinnest Building
It is ~61cm wide at its narrowest point, 4.26m at its widest.

The International Business Times also covered it after tweeting about the property and collected thousands of likes. The Guardian even included it on a list named "Spite buildings: when human grudges get architectural."

The pettiness that made history

The building especially gained worldwide attention after Rishani researched it for forgotten tales. In 2014, she entitled it "Beruit Re-Collected".

Sandra Rishani found it surprising that in spite of her career background, she had never heard of the building until her dad told her about it. Therefore, she took the chance to untangle the urban myth.

Lebanon Thinnest Building 2
How the Lebanon thinnest building looks from aside.

For her, the Grudge is more than just a funny piece of oral history that has been passed down from elders. It is, in fact, a story of "empowerment between the system and more powerful stakeholders."

She said,

"He was empowered enough to decide, 'I can do something about this. My building might not give me the best profit, but it will definitely drop the price of the land of my brother.”

Lebanon Thinnest Building In The 60s
Photo dated 1962 found unreferenced that shows the Grudge/Sandra Rishani.

Two architect brothers, Fawzi and Salah Itani fittingly designed The Grudge. In fact, Rishani tried to contact the clan who were supposed to own the building at the time she wrote her essay. However, she could not reach them. And it is not known who is the owner of it until today.

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