Nakagin Capsule Tower is one of the most famous Metabolist architecture built by Kisho Kurokawa in Tokyo’s Ginza district in 1972. The design intention was to allow travelling businessmen that worked in central Tokyo to live in as a kind of temporary housing. It is an architecture prototype with sustainability and recyclability, since each module can be attached to the central core and replaced or exchanged when necessary.
The unique, flexible and growing building design is a prime example of the Metabolism architecture movement of Kisho. These ideas were first mentioned in 1960 at the World Design Conference, mentioned at a previous post by my group mate. Hidaka once stated that the Metabolist ideas of the 1960s “were very new, they saw cities as ‘moving’ and dynamic, that concept is real. Metabolism wanted to collaborate with engineers, they invited scientists ,designers, and industrial designers. They wanted transcultural collaborations. It’s still relevant because of the ‘dynamic city’ and trans-cultural aspects”.
What Kurokawa observed from the Japanese architecture was the temporary and unpredictable lifespans of the natural materials used in building. That is why the capsules were built to be replaceable; however, the building has not been maintained in over 33 years which led to serious drainage and other problems.
It is a video documentary on Kisho Kurokawa and the Nakagin Capsule Tower. He explained that the lack of maintenance of the tower was due to the division of ownership and inheritance of modules. While residents are plotting its demolition, architects from around the world are trying to preserve the towers.
More architectural details of the Nakagin Capsule Tower will be discussed. (Link)