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  4. Japan
  5. Kisho Kurokawa
  6. 1972
  7. AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa

AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa

AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa
AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa, © Arcspace
© Arcspace

© Arcspace © Arcspace © Arcspace © Arcspace +18

From the architect. Architect Kisho Kurokawa was very innovative in his creation of the Nakagin Capsule Tower in 1972, which was the first capsule architecture design. The module was created with the intention of housing traveling businessmen that worked in central Tokyo during the week. It is a prototype for architecture of sustainability and recycleability, as each module can be plugged in to the central core and replaced or exchanged when necessary.

© Arcspace
© Arcspace

Built in the Ginza area of Tokyo, a total of 140 capsules are stacked and rotated at varying angles around a central core, standing 14-stories high. The technology developed by Kurokawa allowed each unit to be installed to the concrete core with only 4 high-tension bolts, which keeps the units replaceable. Each capsule measures 4 x 2.5 meters, permitting enough room for one person to live comfortably. The interior space of each module can be manipulated by connecting the capsule to other capsules.

© Arcspace
© Arcspace

All pieces of the pods were manufactured in a factory in Shiga Prefecture then transported to the site by truck. The pre-assembled interior features a circular window, built-in bed and bathroom, and is furnished with a TV, radio and alarm clock. Hoisted by a crane, the capsules were inserted in the shipping containers by use of a crane, and then fastened to the concrete core shaft.

© Arcspace
© Arcspace

This unique take on apartments and high-rises in Tokyo is a prime example of the Metabolism architecture movement of Kisho, known for it's focus on adaptable, growing and interchangeable building designs. These ideas first surfaced in 1960 at the "World Design Conference."

© Arcspace
© Arcspace

Hidaka once stated that the Metabolist ideas of the 1960s "were very new, the 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."

© Arcspace
© Arcspace

Another theme of the temporality of the Nakagin Capsule Tower is grounded in what Kurokawa observed throughout Japanese history; that Japanese cities built from natural materials had temporary and unpredictable lifespans. 

© Arcspace
© Arcspace

This hasn't withstood the test of time, and the limits can be seen in the Nakagin Tower. "The tower had a design period of only four months- shorter than usual, and it was rushed. The designing went on even after construction had already started."

© Arcspace
© Arcspace

Residents of the tiny pods are now plotting its demolition; although the capsules were built to be replacable, the building has not been maintained in over 33 years which has led to drainage and damaged water pipes. Architects from around the world are trying to work together to preserve the towers, considering all ideas and options.

© Arcspace
© Arcspace
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: Megan Sveiven. "AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa" 09 Feb 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/110745/ad-classics-nakagin-capsule-tower-kisho-kurokawa/>
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72 Comments

archipicture · September 23, 2016

nice construction - some more images:
www.archipicture.ch

Yoseph · February 05, 2015

If the capsules are interchangeable, why not remove and re-purpose them elsewhere?

E.j. Deocampo · December 09, 2014

This is an interesting instance in architecture. As manipulative and adaptive as this structure scheme is, it is interesting to see that they are going to demolish this building. The decision contrasts the initial praise that it had when it was built. The notions of Kurokawa's impositions of theories vs. people's practices shows that this society is not ready for this technological advancement.

jemmariel · December 09, 2014

I find it ironic that the Metabolists based their designs and ideas around biological processes, ones that cycle through birth, life, and death; yet Kurokawa launched the campaign to save his dying building. Maybe the building not only needs saving, but also rebirth. The permanent megastructure could be reused, as originally intended, and maybe the replaceable capsules and utilities get an update using new technologies and better construction. Then the buildings life cycle could come full circle as it was intended to.

Vinorus OSM · August 17, 2012

I reckon we could use it as a hotel, I don't mind to pay a little more to enjoy those good old days.

Dorry-kun · April 01, 2012

Nakagin Tower, Tokyo: A 1972 vision of future modular architecture was voted for demolition in 2007. It still stands... http://t.co/BARV2OX9

jayson hood · March 16, 2012

Nakagin Capsule Tower, a finalist for the next Lego arch&#39e model - http://t.co/8FXVdXC8 Ahead of its time + has many still-relevant ideas

Cihan Poçan · February 09, 2012

Kübrik Cad. Ghost in the Shell Sok. Speys Odisey Apt.
http://t.co/5lpnJKoB

leonardoediaz78 · January 07, 2012

AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa | ArchDaily http://t.co/FMrViU4Q vía @archdaily

Bruno Bellomo · July 11, 2011

AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa http://t.co/toWBhj4 vía @archdaily

Tika Laras Kusuma · June 30, 2011

:) japanese is awesome AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa | ArchDaily http://t.co/WlUN2nv via @archdaily

ZDZS · June 15, 2011

A rare example of the Metabolist movement in Japan. It was an emblem of the post-war boom. It's symbolic of a proud period in modern Japanese history, and it's sad it has been allowed to go into disrepair.

Perhaps it will see a revival like Keeling House by Denys Lasdun in London!

Is there anyone out there who thinks that it shouldn't be saved - not on the grounds of health and safety?

Ersinhan Ersin · March 13, 2011

Ain&#39t no proj. mapping / archi http://is.gd/rdZtuZ @plethoraapp

Eric Crabtree · March 09, 2011

A little small for the whole family, but I like the concept. http://is.gd/rdZtuZ @plethoraapp

SymmetryDevelopments · February 15, 2011

The Nagakin Capsule Tower. A classic with FUNK
http://www.archdaily.com/11074...

Mariano Castillo ? · February 15, 2011

de esas qeu te enseñan en la escuela de arquis http://www.archdaily.com/11074...

Nicholas Patten · February 13, 2011

AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower. http://bit.ly/fraran

Zaratustra · February 13, 2011

japan&#39s capsule towers are to be demolished :( http://www.archdaily.com/11074...

frepose · February 12, 2011

Després diuen que els pisos són petits, aquí va un projecte (ja mític) de càpsules-habitatge. La torre Nagakin:
http://bit.ly/fBtyuk

RL · February 12, 2011

The building is made of extremely toxic materials.

There used to be small business inside, like for example someone running a shoe shop in their little capsule. However, the department of health has shut down any access to the building, except for the poor residents.

Alexandra Rios · February 11, 2011

Nakagin Capsule Tower, 1972, Japon - http://bit.ly/h34qhH - #architecture

Architektourist · February 11, 2011

70&#39s style: das Kapselwohnhochhaus von Kisho Kurokawa http://ow.ly/3UyKe

Urbscape · February 11, 2011

AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa http://bit.ly/flw2yR

Julian Picaza · February 11, 2011

AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa http://ff.im/-xKOIW

rolemodelun · February 11, 2011

i mean ... i fuks&#39d in this: http://tinyurl.com/5vty5zf

rolemodelun · February 11, 2011

i fuks with this: http://tinyurl.com/5vty5zf

Gergely Szabó · February 11, 2011

AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa http://is.gd/VoD4HK

jon suguiyama · February 11, 2011

AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa http://www.archdaily.com/?p=11...

arquiRED Mexico · February 11, 2011

RT @radarqnet: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa at @archdaily http://feedly.com/k/fS3UsT #Japan #Tokyo #metabolism

radarq.net · February 11, 2011

Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa at @archdaily http://feedly.com/k/fS3UsT #Japan #Tokyo #metabolism

Jiayin Cheng · February 11, 2011

AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa http://pulsene.ws/10Tcb

Agim · February 11, 2011

AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa http://pulsene.ws/10Tcb

chris baribeau · February 11, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa http://archdai.ly/igxUT2 #architecture

Goodgirl? · February 11, 2011

AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa | ArchDaily http://t.co/e5iD21Z via @archdaily

Martino · February 11, 2011

one of my favorite works of architecture - tokyo&#39s nakagin capsule tower by kisho kurokawa. http://bit.ly/fxvpaj (via @wejetset)

Taj Reid · February 11, 2011

one of my favorite works of architecture - tokyo&#39s nakagin capsule tower by kisho kurokawa. http://bit.ly/fxvpaj

Sanjeev Sabharwal · February 11, 2011

It's iconic. A great pity they're tearing it down. Why not turn it into a museum and generate revenue?
That way, it'll be economically viable, as well as remain as a reminder of certain wild days!

Cesar · February 10, 2011

AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa | ArchDaily http://t.co/SR4mcO3 #Arquitectura #futurista .....

André Amaral · February 10, 2011

AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa | ArchDaily http://t.co/JnTGcfG via @archdaily

oscar aramendi · February 10, 2011

AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa | ArchDaily http://t.co/USSAtac via @archdaily

Quan Tran · February 10, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa http://archdai.ly/igxUT2 #architecture

Maciej · February 10, 2011

I remember this building being used as one of the buildings in a computer game called- simcity (2000 I guess). Weird, but cool :).

Andrea LM · February 10, 2011

RT @CoolArchitectur: AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower by Kisho Kurokawa http://t.co/2TScHFq via @archdaily #architecture #japanese #mo ...

vivipatriajaya · February 10, 2011

RT @CoolArchitectur: AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower by Kisho Kurokawa http://t.co/2TScHFq via @archdaily #architecture #japanese #mo ...

charlie · February 10, 2011

Does anyone knows if there is possibility to visit these ?

It so frustrating to see these only from outside...

cool Architecture · February 10, 2011

AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower by Kisho Kurokawa http://t.co/2TScHFq via @archdaily #architecture #japanese #modular

Anglia Widjaja · February 10, 2011

Noet to self: make an effort to go to Ginza to see this http://t.co/jhu5WpD

ASphere · February 10, 2011

the owner cant afford maintenance cost
and sell them for Developer to do something in this valuable site

and Architect want to save this things by buy it back from the developer but the price is too high

i dont want what's going on after his death

Luana Lima · February 10, 2011

Como eu sonhei em conhecer esse edifício :( hunf <3 RT @ArchDaily: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa http://archdai.ly/igxUT2

blk · February 10, 2011

those good old days...

love it.

nulla · February 10, 2011

Lovery!!! But i don`t know how people live in there...Maybe this building is kind of art!

Ayse Teke · February 10, 2011

AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa http://tinyurl.com/5vty5zf

vivipatriajaya · February 10, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa http://archdai.ly/igxUT2 #architecture

silentbee · February 10, 2011

Always loved this project. Veryy innovative. Even though it looks like a pile of washing machines ;) Please don't knock it down :(

thomasnougaret · February 10, 2011

Reading: "AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa | ArchDaily"( http://twitthis.com/bix87r )

Daniel Q. Segura · February 10, 2011

Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa | ArchDaily http://t.co/JUNlN7v via @archdaily

sarhat Petrossian · February 10, 2011

AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa | ArchDaily http://t.co/xhvnZF6 via @archdaily

ArchiSoft · February 10, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa http://archdai.ly/igxUT2 #architecture

DEZIGN · February 10, 2011

AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa: ©ArcspaceArchitect Kisho Kurokawa was very innovative in hi... http://bit.ly/ieIZ2M

Yo! Monkey · February 10, 2011

Quiero Vivir Aquí!!! http://j.mp/hpXcSS

arch_related · February 10, 2011

AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa: ©ArcspaceArchitect Kisho Kurokawa was very innovative in hi... http://bit.ly/ieIZ2M

Sarah Ryley · February 10, 2011

Back to the future in Tokyo / Kisho Kurokawa | ArchDaily http://t.co/cvHWxK6 via @archdaily

Architekt R V Scholz · February 10, 2011

#Architekt #Calau AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa: ©ArcspaceArchitect ... http://bit.ly/i4SIIx #in http://dy.cx/c03

Daniel Vega Olazábal · February 10, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa http://archdai.ly/igxUT2 #architecture

???? ?RCage??? · February 10, 2011

?????????????????????????????????AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa | ArchDaily http://t.co/TG2b4rd via @archdaily

Scott @ Cube Studio · February 10, 2011

AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa | ArchDaily: Architect Kisho Kurokawa wa... http://bit.ly/gYoDIL www.cubestudio.info

ArchitecturePassion · February 10, 2011

AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa: ©ArcspaceArchitect Kisho Kurokawa was very innovative... http://tinyurl.com/4ofqlfv

alililii · February 10, 2011

Reading: "El futuro en los 70´s....AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa | ArchDaily"( http://twitthis.com/bix87r )

Erik Joya · February 10, 2011

AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa: ©Arcspace Architect Kisho Kurokawa was… http://goo.gl/fb/gIwXy

Rajan Reddy · February 10, 2011

Very very nice RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa http://archdai.ly/igxUT2 #architecture

mattsu · February 10, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa http://archdai.ly/igxUT2 #architecture

Architecture+Molding · February 10, 2011

AD Classics: Nakagin Capsule Tower / Kisho Kurokawa: Architect Kisho Kurokawa was very innovative in his creatio... http://bit.ly/dRD2jp

···

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