Nakagin Capsule Tower: Tokyo’s Distinctive Micro Apartments

If you have ever dreamed of living out the rest of your days in the cramped cabin of a small cruise ship—Tokyo’s Nakagin Capsule Tower is for you. The Nakagin Capsule Tower may be permanently landlocked, but each 12-foot wide apartment equipped with a woefully small bathroom and a single circular window will surely give you the sensation that you are perpetually lost at sea.

Nakagin Capsule Tower

The Nakagin Capsule Tower was built in the early 1970s and designed by an architect named Kisho Kurokawa who was dedicated to creating a building which was the embodiment of a Japanese architectural style known as Metabolism. Those who championed Metabolism believed that buildings should evolve over time in the same way that a living organism does. The Nakagin Capsule Tower is essentially a collection of cube-shaped apartments that could be frequently upgraded to reflect the ever-changing landscape of ultra modern Tokyo.

Nakagin Capsule Tower

Modernizing the Nakagin Capsule Tower has proven much more difficult and costly than Kisho Kurokawa imagined. The tower was initially built to house single Japanese businessmen who wished to live in a compact space equipped with state-of-the-art appliances and electronics. Kisho Kurokawa’s vision of replacing individual apartments and modernizing them as architectural trends changed never came to fruition.

Nakagin Capsule Tower

Nakagin Capsule Tower

Nakagin Capsule Tower

Nakagin Capsule Tower

In the early 00s, the Nakagin Capsule Tower was nearly demolished, Architecture enthusiasts around the globe rallied to keep the unique building intact. Many onlookers celebrate the tower’s distinctive modern design, while others say that the two towers look like an awkward stack of aging metal washing machines. Though some portions of the building are in dire disrepair, the Nakagin Capsule Tower is still home to a small group of permanent residents. Curious travels can spend the night in one of the tower’s claustrophobic cube apartments for a fee that is as small as the bathroom.

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