Architecture July, 7 2009

Nakagin Capsule Tower

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Nicolai Ouroussoff raises questions about preservation in his reflection on the decision to demolish the Nakagin Capsule Tower in today’s NYT. A rare example of the Metabolism movement, the building represents a particular vision in Japanese urban development. Designed by Kisho Kurokowa, the Capsule Tower realizes the movements desire to create flexible models for rapidly changing urban society. The Capsule’s were originially designed to be easily and effectively swapped out and reconfigured – and also were built as an early example of prefabricated dwelling parcels. The unfortunate reality, as Ouroussoff recognizes, comes in the prohibitive cost of the idea finding true use. As result, the building has reached a state of ill repair. Still, Ouroussoff argues the structures cultural importance and reminds that public housing remains a losing battle in many fights for preserving key moments of cultural production.

The full article is highly recommended.

Exterior views of the Nakagin Capsule Tower follow.