Shimbashi, Tokyo, Japan
Architect: Kisho Kurokawa
We’ve been wanting to see this interesting landmark structure for some time and were lucky enough to visit it on our last trip to Japan. Completed in 1972, the tower is a unique representation of Kisho’s Metabolism architecture – a movement not often seen, and is marked as the first execution of capsule architecture in the world. An extreme level of conceptual functionality dictates the stunning minimalist design elements, in which each self-contained unit (capsule) was designed to be individually removed and/or replaced. Each capsule is held in position by four high-tension bolts and are also cantilevered.
We are intrigued by post war design resurgence and futuristic idealism, and we find Kisho’s idea of impermanence inspiring. ‘Individuals should be protected by capsules in which they can reject information they do not need and in which they are sheltered from information they do not want, thereby allowing an individual to recover his subjectivity and independence’ – Kisho Kurokawa
For various reasons, including maintenance concerns and a lack of local support for preservation, the building has not been take care of. There is also talk that the building is in danger of being demolished. The Nakagin Capsule Tower is the embodiment of a great idea and we will anxiously look to see if it is still standing for future to come.