Sam Kee Building

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Green paint denotes entire width of building

The Sam Kee Building, located at 8 West Pender Street in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, is noteworthy for being the shallowest commercial building in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records.

Sam Kee Building at Carrall and Pender Streets in Vancouver

At the turn of the 20th century, the Sam Kee Company—one of the wealthiest firms in Chinatown—purchased a standard-sized lot in 1903. The basement extends beneath the sidewalk and originally housed public baths, while the ground floor was used for offices and shops and the top story for living quarters.[1]

In 1912, however, Vancouver widened Pender Street and expropriated 24 feet (7.3 m) of the above-ground portion of the property—effectively (or so it was first believed) making conventional commercial use of the remaining frontage impractical, if not impossible. In 1913, the architects Brown and Gillam designed this narrow, steel-framed building's ground-floor depth (from storefront to rear of building) to measure 4'11" (1.50 m), with a second-floor depth (from overhanging bay window to rear) of 6' (1.83 m).

Historical renovation of the building was designed by Soren Rasmussen, and was completed in 1986.[2]

The building is considered the shallowest 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.[3][4] The dispute centres around the fact that while the Sam Kee Building's width varies from floor to floor, Pittsburgh's "Skinny Building" is 5'2" (1.57 m) wide on all floors.

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Coordinates: 49°16′50″N 123°06′17″W / 49.280425°N 123.104706°W / 49.280425; -123.104706