Sunday, August 12, 2012

... When I Met the Nakagin Capsule Tower!

August 3, 2012 Having my photo-op with this architectural wonder!
The Nakagin Capsule Tower and Toreishi-san!

It has been in my life's bucket list to see in real life The World's First Capsule Architecture: The Nakagin Capsule Tower in Shimbashi, Tokyo. I had always been fascinated by the Mod Futurism, The Jetsons, The Go-Go Space Age in Fashion and Arts... Well all the likes. The geometric shapes are all defined and  clean and quirky for me. It's so interesting how inventive can things be. Well, the Nakagin Capsule Tower has been one of my design muse! It's one of those architecture marvel that encompasses time. Seeing it in real life is like meeting Andy Warhol in the flesh for me! I was really so starstruck! I have always been stalking this tower online looking for updates if it will be demolished soon (God please not) or if it will be refurbished someday. I keep a tab for the Nakagin Capsule Tower like an obsessed fan! Even if it's now old and looks strangely modern but rusted, I am still amazed by it!

March 2007 My Muse Nayna modelling this
"Mod-Mom" Winning Piece! haha!
I even remember trying to simulate Futurism and Modernism in few of my designs back in college. I think I was inspired by Judy Jetson and a dryer machine then I made a "Maternity Dress"! Can you imagine that? I even won the "Sigma Delta Phi Fashion Design Competition". I just love simple shapes can be experimental! Since then I keep making lists of architectural wonders~ that modern townhouses in Mitaka, Tokyo, Architect Frank Genhry's works and Kisho Kurokawa to name a few. My bestfriend is an architect that's why I got to learn about these interesting shapes and forms. Hehe. Sorry for the segue! Haha! But I just gotta say!

Now back to the Nakagin Capsule Tower... I got fascinated with this "Capsule" idea when I saw it way back in ANTM Cycle 3 when they were bunked in a capsule hotel in Tokyo! What a strange place... Tokyo is definitely unique with it! Haha! Then as I do my research I've come to discover this Metabolism structure by Kisho Kurokawa and got more fascinated with it! The concept of space and how living can be contained in a capsule is strange and such an experimental concept. I could only imagine it in thoughts or cartoons or sci-fi movies, but the "Metabolism" architecture really made it in real life. Well, I can't imagine myself living in a capsule~ where will my clothes go! My hoarded junks can fit in it definitely ~ Haha! 

I'm so geeky to even further discuss some more facts about the Nakagin Capsule Tower, but let me just show some grabbed visuals of how it was designed...

Nakagin Capsule Tower's interior floor plan
grabbed from  Lewism A Tectonic Notebook

Doesn't it feel like living in an airplane lavatory? Haha! It kinda feels like it to me! Haha!

Some sample model interiors of the Nakagin Capsule photos from Tomio Ohashi

Ideally each capsule can be removable and can be refurbished but it turned out to be too complicated and the whole building had lots of maintenance problems... Sadly, it deteriorated and was too pricey to maintain. I read that it was actually designed for Tokyo Salary-Men who don't need to take up a lot of space just a bed to bunk in after work (...may be Taka fits here! haha!) But as time goes by I think it was way ahead of the society then that it didn't fit in to the lifestyle of the residents of the Nakagin Capsule Tower. I even read in the that the interior space in it is too small to fit in the contemporary household appliances and now the building is in bad condition. Most articles I've read about the Nakagin Capsule Tower had some report about it being condemned and disputed to be taken down.

The front door says "No Trespassing" May be residents here are buzzed
with lots of spectators that they have to put in such an unwelcoming sign. 
Personally, I still hope it can be restored and made into an architectural museum. The Nakagin Capsule Tower is such an iconic architecture and it speaks alot about history and the zeitgeist of its time. I wish there can be some architectural firm or some preservation committee who could buy off the building from its residents and make the whole building into some tourist or even architectural design museum where it can be maintained well and funds can be raised through building view entrance fee or something. But as time goes by it's sadly deteriorating and may be soon too late to even restore it into its original architectural marvel. Sigh. It's sad yet true. I think it can even be an interesting Hotel for businessmen who comes to Tokyo, especially it's near the business district or almost in the same area as the business area. The iconic popularity of Nakagin Capsule Tower can still be saved!

One bucket-list checked! I saw Nakagin Capsule Tower up-close!
Wish I can see the interior someday! Haha!

Nonetheless, I'm glad that even before it might come to a time that it has to be taken down... I'm so glad to have seen it in real life. I couldn't explain the my mesmerized feeling seeing it that I didn't even know if I want to see it up-close or from afar and wondered if I can just see one capsule inside? I think the perfect word for me is STARSTRUCK! Someday I hope I can see the interior of it too!
"OMG I finally met you, Nakagin Capsule Tower!
Hajimemashite~ I'm Tracy one of your biggest fan!"
Now I have my own shots of this beauty!
I took this shot!! I'm so proud haha!
Those piles of boxed capsules! 

I even felt a bit nervous and excited as I walk near up-close the building Haha! I don't know why! Haha! I dunno why would I be nervous but I was thinking may be residents might be unwelcoming since it's not really a public viewing place... But I really think it should be!

The address number of the Nakagin Capsule Tower
The sign says: "Nakagin Kapuseru Tawā" this is by the front door.
I'm actually confused if theNakagin Capsule Tower is in Ginza or Shimbashi
Coz I know we got off Shimbashi Station going here but the address says "Ginza"
It's nice to see it up-close!
Looks like pile of laundry-dryers don't they? Haha!
We were trying so hard to capture the tower's exterior on our background
but it was so hard to find the angle! Oh well these pics would do. Haha!
Being located near Ginza Area and Shimbashi being a business area, I'm even curious and I wonder how much would these capsule units would even cost! I'm sure it costs a lot! Haha! Well, I wondered because I really wish it can be preserved and saved and resident could just sell their units! Haha! Why am I talking about evicting the residents?! So sorry I got carried away! Anyways, it was a great experience for me to see this... Aside from the train-ride going here, it didn't cost me anything seeing this architectural marvel! Haha! I sure hope Nakagin Capsule Tower can be preserved so we can see and appreciate experimental and avant garde ideas like this!

More of my Tokyo Summer Trip Adventure 2012! Still so much stories to tell!

16-10 8-Chome, Chuo-ku, Tokyo Ginza
Nakagin Capsule Tower Map


  1. yes, this is a great place. hope it can preserved and you can visit there again. i really hope so. you should check other architecutres as well like sagurada familia

    1. Yeah! When you go on business trips overseas take lots of interesting architectures! I would love to see them!!

  2. wow, that was really one iconic tower... and the plan of spaces, the japanese are really genius for compact designs.. i'm always amaze when i see houses that are built on a very tiny lot, but still comes out great because of their genius use of space... i salute their architects for that! :>
    too bad it isn't properly maintained... if all that grime be painted or scrapped away, it will look more crisp and gorgeous~~

  3. I wonder which you wanna live in better, Nakagin or Harajuku mansion


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