NYT: Nicolai Ouroussoff on Niko Kurokawaњs Nakagin Capsule Tower


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The Times architecture critic makes an impassioned case for preserving this exemplar of the postwar Metabolism school of Japanese architecture. Nakagin Tower is fascinating at least as one of the most fully-realized expressions of modern design’s love affair with modularity: “Each of the concrete capsules was assembled in a factory, including details like carpeting and bathroom fixtures. They were then shipped to the site and bolted, one by one, onto the concrete and steel cores that housed the building’s elevators, stairs and mechanical systems.” However, over the years, it has decayed from disuse and impracticality, which leaves me conflicted on whether even architectural failures deserve preservation. On the other hand, in photographs at least, Nagakin Tower has an unearthly, almost perverse beauty like few others buildings, and what a shame it would be to lose that forever.


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