Famous Japanese Nakagin Capsule Tower to be Demolished

The New York Times (July 7, 2009) reported that the Nakagin capsule tower, an iconic bachelor hotel for businessmen which was built in the swanky Ginza neighborhood of Tokyo in 1972, is scheduled to be demolished.

The building was designed by Kisho Kurokawa and consists of 140 concrete pods plugged into two interconnected circulation cores.  Each pod is as compact as a space capsule. A wall of appliances and cabinets is built into one side, including a kitchen stove, a refrigerator, a television and a tape deck.  A bathroom, about the size of an airplane lavatory, is located in an opposite corner.  A big porthole window dominates the far end of the room, with a bed tucked underneath.

Nakagin hotel / pict_u_re

The hotel is a rare built example of Japanese Metabolism and is considered by some architectural experts as gorgeous architecture and the crystallization of a far-reaching cultural ideal.  Architectural critic Nicholai Ouroussoff described the movement:

Founded by a loose-knit group of architects at the end of the 1950s, the Metabolist movement sought to create flexible urban models for a rapidly changing society.  Floating cities.  Cities inspired by oil platforms. Buildings that resembled strands of DNA.

Each of the concrete capsules was assembled in a factory including bathroom fixtures and carpeting and then bolted to the core structure which contained the mechanical systems, elevators and stairs.

This landmark needs to be saved, retrofitted and restored. 

About the author: Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC operates his hotel consulting office as a sole practitioner specializing in franchising issues, asset management and litigation support services.  Turkel’s clients are hotel owners and franchisees, investors and lending institutions.  Turkel serves on the Board of Advisors and lectures at the NYU Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management.  He is a member of the prestigious International Society of Hospitality Consultants.  His provocative articles on various hotels subjects have been published in the Cornell Quarterly, Lodging Hospitality, Hotel Interactive, Hotel-Online, Blue MauMau, Hotel Resource News, etc.  Don’t hesitate to call 917-628-8549 or email stanturkel@aol.com.

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