Tokyo’s historic Nakagin Capsule Tower to be demolished

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Tokyo (AFP) – Tokyo’s futuristic-looking Nakagin Capsule Tower will be demolished next month, its owners say, after a long battle to save the building and its space-age units.

The tower, completed in 1972 and designed by renowned architect Kisho Kurokawa, is a landmark of the metabolic movement, which aimed to create sustainable living spaces that people could take with them if they moved.

Its dozens of capsules with large round windows were designed to be individually removed and replaced, but remained there in an increasing state of disrepair.

The owners plan to extract some of the white cubic capsules before demolition begins on April 12, Tatsuyuki Maeda, who has refurbished several of them himself, told AFP on Tuesday.

“We don’t know yet how many capsules we will be able to save, but we plan to repair some deteriorated parts and refurbish them to send them to museums, for example,” said Maeda, who bought his first capsule in the tower. in 2010.

“It’s not the complete end of the building, and I can’t wait to see the new life of the capsules.”

The company created by Kurokawa, who died in 2007, is contributing to the revival project, he added.

Maeda and other capsule owners have campaigned for the building’s survival in the expensive Shimbashi district of central Tokyo, which for years has faced threats of redevelopment.

Each of the capsules, built as tiny homes and offices, has a floor space of just 10 square meters (100 square feet) with 70s features such as a folding desk and retro clocks.

However, most units were left to rot, and in recent years the building has faced problems with pipe corrosion and water damage, with some capsule owners more eager to see the tower demolished than to pay for it. maintenance.

Fans of the building reacted to the news on social media with a mixture of sadness and resignation.

“The Capsule Tower will soon be demolished… It will be very sad to see the building we admired disappear,” wrote one Twitter user.

“Finally it will be demolished. It is valuable, but it was the right decision to dismantle it, because it had become quite shabby,” another wrote.

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