Sophia Qin

Nakagin Capsule Tower

An architectural wonder

Sophia Qin
Sophia Qin   - 3 min read

Designed by famous Japanese architect, Kisho Kurokawa, the Nakagin Capsule Tower was completed in the year of 1972 and is seen as a symbol of Japanese metabolist architecture.

Located in Shimbashi of Tokyo (near Ginza), the whole building consists of two towers and 140 capsules. As the first capsule building constructed for actual use, Nakagin not only represents an innovative architectural concept, but also presents an emblematic life style of Japanese salaryman. Although unfortunately the building has been slated for demolition, architects from worldwide are collaborating to preserve the towers by replacing the existing capsules with updated and furnished ones.

The designer of Nakagin was influenced by Marxist philosophy as well as biological metabolism. The circular shape of the windows of each capsule gives each capsule a washing-machine look. Each block/capsules represents an individual cell – self-contained, full-functioned, detachable and replaceable. To further explain, each capsule is fully-furnished in a studio style: kitchen, bedroom and bathroom are fit into one block. Facilities and amenities such as stove, TV, refrigerator are all included.

As the prototype of sustainable architecture, the whole building delivers multiple messages to the world: sustainability, maximization of functionality, and the pursuit of high-efficiency. It has also become one of the most iconic architectures in a starring role for its dynamic and uncommon design. It was featured in both Heroes Reborn and the Wolverine for its unique structure and has gained attention worldwide.

If you happen to travel to the Ginza area of Japan, it is highly recommended that you pay a visit to this distinctive building and understand the evolution of Japanese architecture as well as the society.

Sophia Qin

Sophia Qin @sophia.qin