| Tower Block Tales | Nakagin Capsule Tower

Architecture definitely plays a big part in our adventures both near and far. Lots of time has been spent seeking out and gazing at structures that have intrigued us from our sofa and iPad back at home. The buildings that catch our imagination are seldom classical. More often than not, they are modern, imposing and divisive.

It is difficult to word why we are drawn to such structures. Doing so seems to paint the variety of architectural styles we like with a singular brush stroke when there are elements that we like from a range of architectural movements. Quite frankly, we care less about the categorisation of architectural styles, and more about the design of the building from a more basic aesthetic opinion.

We find ourselves drawn to a particular building because of its proportion, scale, rhythm, material and context. We enjoy a piece of architecture because of the way that it reveals itself in light. Ultimately, we like a particular building because of the feelings that it provokes from us.

While we were staying in the Shiodome area of Tokyo (HERE), we sought out the Nakagin Capsule Tower. As luck would have it, it turned out to be just around the corner from our hotel.




Nakagin Capsule Tower’s irregular and strange appearance naturally disengages it from the look and feel of the buildings around it. It’s a bit of a loner peering out from a dark protective mesh, it seemed somehow sheepish and shunned to us.

Nakagin Capsule Tower was designed by Kurosawa Kisho. It was completed in 1972 and is a mixed use building serving as a residential and office block.  In essence, it consists of a stack of 140 capsules all of which were designed to be removed and replaced if and when needed. Unfortunately the building has gone over 30 years with little or no maintenance and though it is a rare surviving example of the Japanese Metabolist architectural movement it is now falling apart from within and is an ailing building. in 2007, the remaining residents voted to have it demolished and replaced with a new 14 storey building. We are personally pleased to see that it still stands today despite it being marked for demolition. (A lot of places we like seem to be facing demolition).

| For the curious |

If you fancy staying in one of the capsules, airbnb has got you sorted.

Here’s the architect’s page about the tower.

Wikipedia’s general outline of info.

Take a look inside, meet some residents and a dose of reality from Failed Architecture.