Metabolist Masterpiece: Nakagin Capsule Tower

  • Kisho Kurokawa (1934-2007) was a leading Japanese architect and one of the founders of the Metabolist Movement in 1959. The categories that the group in visioned for the future of cities around the world were “large scale, flexible and extensible structures that facilitate an organic growth process”. The people behind English collective Archigram also belonged to this group.

    One of the most famous metabolist projects is the futuristic Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo’s busy commercial district of Shimbashi. The 14-story tower, built between 1970 and 1972, consists of 140 individual capsules that function as apartments and business offices. The Nakagin Capsule Tower has also served as a prototype for urban accommodations like capsule hotels.

    The prefab capsules of the tower are attached to the tower’s central beam and were designed to be removable and replaceable. Even the small space inside the capsules can be modified and increased by connecting capsules to each other. In fact, the capsules haven’t been replaced throughout the years, because they can only be taken apart from the center beam from the top. The future of the tower seems to be uncertain. For various reasons, including a lack of support for preservation, the building could be demolished within two years, by people who apparently don’t know a thing about architecture.

    Have a look on PingMag for more information about this exceptional building.