Contemporary Architecture

Kisho Kurokawa – Nagakin Capsule tower

About the architect:

  • Born in Kanie, Aichi, Kurokawa studied architecture at Kyoto University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1957.
  • Kurokawa received a master’s degree in 1959 from University of Tokyo.
  • Kurokawa then went on to study for a doctorate of philosophy, but subsequently dropped out in 1964.
  • Cofounded the metabolist movement  in 1960, whose members were known as Metabolists
  • was a radical Japanese avant -garde  (advance guard)movement pursuing the merging and recycling of architecture styles within an Asian context
  • Vision- cities of the future were characterized by large scale, flexible, and expandable structures that evoked the processes of organic growth

Philosophy of metabolism:

  1. Impermanence
  2. Materiality
  3. Details
  4. Receptivity

Nagakin Capsule tower:

  • Based on philosophy of metabolism.
  • first capsule architecture design.
  • originally designed as a Capsule Hotel to provide economical housing for businessmen working late in central Tokyo during the week.
  • 14-story high Tower has 140 capsules stacked at angles around a central core.


  • Install the capsule units into the concrete core
  • Units  detachable and replaceable
  • 1 capsule – 4×2.5m
  • Modified shipping  container –interior preassembled in factory

Metabolism in Nagakin Capsule Tower:

  • IMPERMANENCE:removable ,interchangeable  capsules
  • DETAILS – detailed connections
  • MATERIALITY– pipe work , ductwork were not hidden
  • RECEPTIVITY– building ready for change


  • New way of interpreting today’s culture-
  • Philosophy of   ‘both – and’ not ‘either-or’

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