1972 (2010 - 2022)

Completed in the year 1972 by the architect Kisho Kurokawa, the Nakagin Capsule Tower stood as one of the few proposals realized by an experiential architectural movement called Metabolism in the 1960s.  As a building attached with 140 removable capsule apartments, Kurokawa envisioned that it would embody the future of urban living in postwar Japan. He designed the building with plug-in capsules to promote exchangeability and modifications to the structure over time, theoretically improving its capacity to adjust to the rapidly changing conditions of the post-industrial society.  Despite Kurokawa’s plan to mass-produce the capsules, this structure ultimately became one of a kind in the world.  In the early 2000s, the building started to face the threat of demolition to make way for a conventional apartment complex to maximize the real estate value of the land.  In my project, I employed photography to capture the state of these capsules as a response to their potential appearance.  While some of the capsules retained the original futuristic furnishings, many other units displayed a variety of modifications performed by the residents.  There were even spaces that were no longer habitable.  The photographs document the various states of the individual capsules to reflect on the passage of time since the building first opened in 1972 as a showcase for Kurokawa’s radical vision for architecture.  This project questions what became of a building that first opened as a prototype for a new mode of urban living and how this vision of the future appears in retrospect, especially considering the anxiety and uncertainty about the future in Japanese society today.

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