Nakagin Capsule Tower / Tokyo
I went to Japan again. My first stop was the Nakagin Capsule Tower (1972) by Kisho Kurokawa.
It's located in the Shimbashi/Ginza area of Tokyo.
The 14-story mixed-use residential and office tower has 140 detachable capsules around a central concrete core. The Nakagin was based on Metabolism and exchangeability and was a sustainable architecture prototype.
"The visions of Kurokawa Kisho, Kikutake Kiyonori, Maki Fumihiko, and other architects who had come under the influence of Tange Kenzo gave birth to an architectural movement that was called 'Metabolism.' The name, taken from the biological concept, came from an image of architecture and cities that shared the ability of living organisms to keep growing, reproducing, and transforming in response to their environments." - Metabolism: The City of The Future, Mori Art Museum
A capsule that was on display at Mori Art Museum's Metabolism Exhibition in 2011 and 2012.
Source: Japan Vision
Source: Atlas of Interiors
The original 300 square foot interior
The capsules are looking a little rough these days. The entire building is covered in netting and rust is visible throughout. The nets were put up after an earthquake to prevent debris from falling off the building. In 2007, the capsule owners voted to demolish it. A public petition with the support of the Japan Institute of Architects (JIA) saved the building. In 2006, the cost to replace a single capsule was estimated at $60,000. The cost for restoration in greater than the cost to demolish and rebuild.
About half of the capsules are no longer being used. The halls have a musty smell and the capsules lack hot water.
Some have been restored, like this one with an Eames LTR.
It appears they are not accepting drop in visitors these days.
However, if you don't mind the musty smell, you can stay at the capsule (kind of) through AirBnB. You can't actually sleep there, but you can stay at a nearby apartment and have access to the capsule.
These planters lined the sidewalk surrounding the tower. Perhaps the AP of Japan?
Unfortunately the tower sits on very valuable real estate. The fate of the building is still in limbo.