Tour Yesterday’s Future Architecture Right Now
I’ve long expressed my affection for the Nakagin Capsule Tower. The 1972-built residential tower, located in the Ginza district of Tokyo, was a daring expression of the Metabolism architectural movement. Each tiny, prefabricated unit was self-contained, fully furnished and affixed to a central spine. The units were meant to be easily attached and detached from the spine for upgrades and reconfigurations. Unfortunately, the building was fraught with design and engineering problems–constant leaks, poor circulation in the units and so forth. And today, the building lies semi-derelict, ever in danger of feeling the crush of a demolition ball.
Fortunate for us, Kirsten Dirksen from Fair Companies got into the tower before it’s gone forever. Guided by Masato Abe (who, incidentally, rents out capsule units on Airbnb. Dirksen actually stayed there with her husband and three girls), she gets an in depth look at the building and its amazing level of detail. Abe also gives a nice explanation of how its creators thought it would be used.
There’s been a recent resurgence of multi story, prefabricated urban skyscrapers (some micro), but their level of design daring pales in comparison to Nakagin (many, like Brooklyn’s B2, have been similarly fraught with engineering hiccups). And while the Capsule Tower was far from an unbridled success, I hope it will continue to inform the shape of urban architecture for years to come.
Via Fair Companies