One of the most iconic examples of Metabolist architecture, Kisho Kurokawa's Nakagin Capsule Tower, might be headed for demolition, as the building was sold by the management association to the landowner earlier this year, as reported by Japan Forward. The tower's demise has been intensely speculated in recent years due to the structure's precarious state and incompatibility with current seismic standards.
The embodiment of a bold architectural vision of organic growth and extreme flexibility, the Nagakin Capsule Tower faces an uncertain future, despite its international acclaim and place in the history of modern architecture. No official announcement has been made so far regarding a future demolition, yet preservation initiatives have failed to take concrete actions against the structure's aging. The lack of maintenance led to drainage and damaged water pipes. Although the architecture was specifically designed to allow for the replacement of the pods, the feature hasn't been exploited.
Built in 1972, the Nakagin Tower has the first capsule architecture project, designed around the vision of an adaptable, dynamic, ever-changing architecture, where modules can be plugged into the central core, replaced or exchanged. The capsules were designed to house traveling business people that worked in central Tokyo; therefore, each unit measuring 4x2.5 meters contains the necessary amenities to accommodate one person. All features and fixtures were factory-manufactured and pre-assembled.
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The Metabolist Movement took shape in 1960s Japan, around ideas of flexible and transformable urban environments. Notions such as organic growth and impermanence were central to the architectural movement, together with an affinity for technological advancements.
Via Japan Forward.