Nakagin Capsule Tower
The Nakagin Capsule Tower was the first capsule architecture design, the capsule as a room inserted into a mega-structure, built for actual use. The Capsule Tower realizes the ideas of metabolism, exchangeability, recycleablity as the prototype of sustainable architecture.
Located in the Ginza area of Tokyo, the Nagakin Capsule Tower, was originally designed as a Capsule Hotel to provide economical housing for businessmen working late in central Tokyo during the week.
The 14-story high Tower has 140 capsules stacked at angles around a central core. Kurokawa developed the technology to install the capsule units into the concrete core with only 4 high-tension bolts, as well as making the units detachable and replaceable.
The one-man-room capsule, a modified (4 x 2.5 meter) shipping container, has a circular window, a built-in bed and bathroom unit, and is complete with TV, radio and alarm clock. The capsule interior was pre-assembled in a factory then hoisted by crane and fastened to the concrete core shaft.
The Nakagin Capsule Tower realizes the ideas of metabolism, exchangeability, recycleablity as the prototype of sustainable architecture.
Residents in Japan’s most famous experiment in living and working in tiny pods are now plotting its demolition. Kurokawa’s design theory was to replace the capsules when needed but the building has not been maintained in 33 years which has caused drainage and water pipes to be damaged.
The international heritage protection group Docomomo, have unsuccessfully pleaded for the United Nations’ heritage arm to protect this landmark building.
The Sony Tower (1976) in Osaka, also designed by Kurokawa, is another prototypical example of sustainable architecture. The capsules are the same size as those of the Nakagin Capsule Tower, but the exterior is made of stainless steel.